New Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016 Goes Before Dáil

The new Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, has introduced the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016, the first piece of legislation to come before the 32nd Dáil.

Announcing the Bill, Minister Zappone said: "I am very pleased that the first piece of legislation to be brought before the 32nd Dáil gives legislative effect to the Children's Referendum.

"This significant Bill allows for the adoption of any child and acknowledges the voice of the child in the adoption process. It provides for the views of the child to be ascertained by the Adoption Authority or by the court and for those views to be given due weight, having regard to the age and maturity of the child."

The Bill makes specific provision for adoption by a step parent. It provides for the adoption of a child by his or her step parent without the requirement for the child's other parent to adopt his or her own child.

"I am aware that the previous legislative provision for step parent adoption caused deep concern for those involved in the process and I am pleased that the regime now provided for is more pragmatic," Minister Zappone added.

Previously, if a step parent wanted to adopt his/her step child, both the parent and the step parent had to apply to adopt. The parent became an 'adopting parent' as a result of the adoption. Under this Bill, the step parent will be the sole adopter and there will be no change to the legal status of the other parent.

The Bill also provides for couples who are civil partners or cohabitees to be eligible to apply to adopt a child. The relevant provisions are being brought forward into this Bill from the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015.

Minister Zappone concluded: "Adoption is one of a range of measures that ensure that the welfare and protection of children is fully catered for in the Irish statute book. These amendments to the Adoption Act 2010 will provide clarity and coherence in our adoption legislation with the added benefit of providing for adoption law in Adoption Acts."


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