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Minister Reilly publishes Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016


Thursday 5th May, 2016

Dr.  James Reilly, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, has today announced that the Government has approved the publication of the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016.   The primary purpose of the Adoption (Amendment) Bill is to amend the Adoption Act 2010 to give legislative effect to the Children Referendum.  The Bill provides for

•    the adoption of any child, irrespective of the marital status of his or her parents, in circumstances where both parents have placed the child for adoption and where both parents consent to the making of the adoption order;
•    a change in the criteria under which the High Court may, in a case of parental failure, make an order authorising the adoption of a child without parental consent; and for
•    the best interests of the child to be the paramount consideration in relation to any adoption proceedings; and, in that regard 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 also makes much improved provisions on step – parent adoption .  The Bill 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. Previously, if a parent and a step parent wanted to adopt, both the parent and the step parent had to apply to adopt - the parent became an ‘adopting parent’ . Under this Bill, the parent will continue to be ‎a parent and the step parent will be an adoptive 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 Reilly said:
Adoption is not always the solution for children, but it is important to ensure that it is open to children where it is in their best interests.

Therefore I am very pleased to be able to publish this legislation now which provides for significant changes to adoption law. The legislation reflects the new Article 42A which was inserted into the Constitution following the Children Referendum. The provisions of the Bill broaden eligibility for adoption to all children.  For example, children who have been reared by foster parents by reason of the failure of their parents to look after them will be eligible for adoption in more circumstances than at present and  this Bill  will also allow for  the voluntary placement for adoption of any child, including children whose parents are married.

This legislation also brings forward important improvements for step parents wishing to adopt.


Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016

Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016 - Explanatory Memorandum