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Fitzgerald, Frances

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Adoption Services Provision

I thank the Deputy for raising this issue and I have listened to what he has had to say about it. I realise that he is concerned about this issue. Adoption can be, as he said, an emotional and so...More Button

Under adoption legislation, when a child is placed on the register of inter-country adoptions, he or she is deemed to be, as the Deputy is well aware, the fully legal child of the adoptive parent...More Button

The Child and Family Agency advises that there are a small number of adoptive parents who seek post-adoptive support from the adoption assessment team in their area. It is interesting that some ...More Button

The Deputy made a point about specialist services and people having a particular skill. I would think Barnardos or any of the adoption agencies would have this skill to a degree. Regarding the ...More Button

It is very important that prospective parents are realistic about the psychological, behavioural and health issues which may arise post-adoption, particularly where a child has spent a period of ...More Button

Was asked: to explain the way her Department and the Health Service Executive define and classify post adoption trauma or incidences of post traumatic stress disorder as a result of adoption; the research, if...More Button

Under adoption legislation, when a child is registered on the Register of Intercountry Adoptions the child is deemed to be the fully legal child of the adoptive parent/couple, having the same legal...More Button

The Child and Family Agency advises that there are a small number of adoptive parents who seek post adoptive support from the adoption assessment team in their area. The problems are generally at...More Button

While no research on post adoption trauma has yet been carried out by the Child and Family Agency, the Children's Research Centre of Trinity College published the "Study on Intercountry Adoption ...More Button

Adoption Services Provision (Continued)

This is also very important. Couples who are adopting also need to show they can support the financial needs which may arise with regard to the child being adopted.More Button

It is important we have increased understanding with regard to these issues and that time is spent during the assessment process discussing them with the couples. The Deputy asked about research...More Button

I take the point made by the Deputy, and I have no doubt parents are looking for more and more specialist help with regard to the issues which arise in the children whom they have adopted. Very ...More Button

Yes.More Button

I would not underestimate the help that CAMHS and other specialist child and adolescent mental health teams can give.More Button

A well-trained psychologist or psychiatrist should be able to deal with some of the issues outlined by the Deputy in terms of attachment difficulties and the problems children, adopted or not, show...More Button

Child Care Qualifications

Was asked: if the FETAC Level 6 qualification will be awarded, based on experience, to preschool teachers nearing retirement with two to four years left until retirement age in the school year 2015-16, when t...More Button

The new qualification requirements are based on international evidence that says that increasing the qualification levels of staff in childcare increases the quality of childcare services and there...More Button

As my Department does not pay salaries in the childcare sector, it would not pay or contribute to redundancy payments, however they arise.More Button

Inter-Country Adoptions

Was asked: the number of persons and-or couples who have completed a mandatory Health Service Executive assessment for the purposes of applying to adopt a child from outside the State under the terms of the H...More Button

The Child and Family Agency has advised that 719 applicants and/or couples have completed the Health Service Executive assessment for the purposes of applying to adopt a child since the commencemen...More Button

Was asked: if there are delays in sending dossiers for adoptions to India; if so, the reason for same; and the action being taken to remedy the situation. More Button

The Republic of India has ratified the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, as such it is not necessary to have a bilateral agreement wit...More Button

I recently facilitated a meeting between the Irish India Support Group and the Adoption Authority in order to provide prospective adopters up to date information on the status of adoptions from I...More Button

The Adoption Authority has advised it is their position that it is necessary to have an Irish registered accredited body to facilitate inter-country adoptions from India in order to safeguard the...More Button

I have arranged a follow-up meeting with the Irish India Support Group and the Adoption Authority in May in order to update the group on progress made.More Button

Was asked: to outline the progress on bilateral agreements with Russia and Ethiopia on inter-country adoption; her plans to speed this process up; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if she will provide an update regarding the establishment of inter-country adoption bilateral agreements with Russia; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: to explain the position regarding speeding up the process on inter-country adoptions with Russia and Nigeria (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: to outline the action being taken to speed up the process to establish bilateral agreements with Russia and Ethiopia in respect of inter-country adoption; and if she will make a statement on the ma...More Button

Was asked: in view of the fact that she previously directed the Adoption Authority of Ireland to commence possible negotiations on a bilateral agreement with Ethiopia and noting that representatives of the au...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 936, 938, 941, 954 and 975 together.More Button

Efforts are ongoing in my Department in relation to a bilateral agreement on intercountry adoption between Ireland and the Russian Federation. Following my invitation to the Russian Ministry of E...More Button

The Adoption Authority delegation visit to Ethiopia in April of 2012 was an initial part of the Authority's deliberations on the feasibility and suitability of entering into discussions with Ethi...More Button

PQ 13095 makes reference to intercountry adoption with Nigeria. As Nigeria has not ratified the Hague Convention a bilateral agreement would be necessary in order for intercountry adoptions to ta...More Button

The Adoption Authority is currently engaging with a number of Hague countries, such as China, India, the USA, Bulgaria, Thailand and the Philippines and is currently seeking to expand the number ...More Button

Was asked: to explain the exact application process and guidelines that must be satisfied for a family to legally adopt a non-EU national child not residing in the State. More Button

The Adoption Act 2010 provides for intercountry adoption between countries that have ratified the Hague Convention or between countries with whom Ireland has a bilateral agreement under Section 73 ...More Button

Applicants for intercountry adoption must apply to the Child and Family Agency in the first instance and then undergo a detailed statutory assessment process. This assessment is undertaken by pro...More Button

Was asked: to detail the number of persons or couples who have completed a mandatory Health Service Executive assessment for the purposes of applying to adopt a child under the terms of the Hague Convention s...More Button

The Child and Family Agency has advised that 719 applicants and/or couples have completed the Health Service Executive assessment for the purposes of applying to adopt a child since the commencemen...More Button

Was asked: if she will provide in tabular form on a yearly basis the number of persons or couples who have adopted children from outside the State subject to the terms of the Hague Convention. More Button

The Adoption Authority has advised that the following number of adoptions have been effected by Irish residents from Hague ratified states subject to Hague standards between 1st November 2010 and t...More Button

Was asked: to explain the reason the numbers of persons or couples adopting children from outside the State has significantly reduced under the terms of the Hague Convention. More Button

Was asked: if she will outline the shortcomings of the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, which was enacted in 2010; and if she will make a ...More Button

Was asked: to explain the reason the number of inter-country adoptions has dramatically decreased since the enactment of the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inte...More Button

Was asked: in view of the fact that in the past three and a half years only 11 adoptions have been effected by persons approved under the Adoption Act 2010, if she will direct the Adoption Authority of Irelan...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 958, 968, 969 and 974 together.More Button

With the enactment of the Adoption Act 2010 on 1 November 2010, Ireland ratified the Hague Convention on protection of children and co-operation in respect of intercountry adoption.More Button

The total number of intercountry adoptions recognised by the Authority in the years 2010 to 2013 (inclusive) was 725. In 2013, the total number of adoptions registered in the Register of Interco...More Button

The legal framework required by the Adoption Act, 2010, which brought into effect the Hague Convention, has created a much lengthier and robust framework for regulating intercountry adoption. Thi...More Button

In line with its obligations under the Hague Convention and the Adoption Act 2010, the Adoption Authority must ensure that international standards of best practice are applied to its operations, ...More Button

It is a fact throughout Hague Convention contracting states that there has been a significant decline in recent years in the number of children available for adoption as average wealth has grown ...More Button

I am advised by the Adoption Authority that it remains absolutely committed to facilitating and recognising intercountry adoptions to the extent that children become available for adoption outsid...More Button

Was asked: the recourse parents have after their three year pre-Hague declaration has become invalid and similarly for parents with post-Hague declarations that cannot adopt from countries like Russia and Eth...More Button

Section 63 of the Adoption Act 2010 contains a transitional provision allowing those applicants holding valid declarations of eligibility and suitability and with adoptions in progress from Non-Hag...More Button

Furthermore, the Adoption Amendment Act, 2013 allowed those whose country of choice was Russia (a non-Hague country) and who had a valid declaration of eligibility and suitability to adopt on the...More Button

Holders of valid declarations of eligibility and suitability may however adopt from Hague countries or countries where there is a bilateral agreement in place. More Button

Efforts are ongoing in my Department in relation to a bilateral agreement on intercountry adoption between Ireland and the Russian Federation. Following a meeting in October 2013 with a delegatio...More Button

Ethiopia is currently seeking to bring its adoption standards up to those required under the Hague Convention, however the Authority would need to be satisfied that Ethiopia has reached a stage w...More Button

The Authority is currently engaging with a number of Hague countries, such as China, India, the USA, Bulgaria, Thailand and the Philippines and is examining the possibility of expanding the numbe...More Button

Was asked: if the Adoption Authority of Ireland is adequately trained to deal with and respond to distressed calls from parents who are unable to adopt due to the barriers now put in place from the 1993 Hague...More Button

The Adoption Authority of Ireland signalled its intentions with regard to the ratification of the Hague Convention for quite some time before its ratification in November 2010 through its website n...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Adoption Authority of Ireland is a regulatory body whose statutory functions are prescribed by legislation and while the Authority is always mindful of the stress...More Button

Children in Care

Was asked: if she will provide details of a care plan in respect of a child currently in foster care (details supplied) in County Galway and the prospect of the child being returned to the family. More Button

A care plan is an agreed written plan for a child placed in statutory care. It is drawn up in consultation with the child, his or her family and all those involved with his or her care, for the cur...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No.146 of 4 December 2013 if the report referred to in the reply is now to hand. More Button

In accordance with the Children Missing From Care - A Joint Protocol between An Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive Children and Family Services a child is defined as missing wh...More Button

Was asked: to set out the number of applications for admission to special care considered by the national special care admission and discharge committee in the years 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014; the number...More Button

Was asked: to detail the number of appeals considered by the national special care appeals panel in the years 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014; and the number of such applications approved and rejected in those...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 945 and 946 together.

  Special Care involves the detention of a child for his or her own welfare and protection in a Special Care Unit with on s...More Button

Was asked: when she will sign a commencement order to enact the remaining provisions of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011. More Button

As the Deputy is aware, a number of sections, mainly in Part 2 and Part 3, of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011 remain to be commenced.More Button

A substantial element of the non-commenced sections relate to provisions for special care. Given the legislative framework utilised to manage the interaction between the Child Care Act 1991 and t...More Button

Work is at an advanced stage in my Department in drafting the required Regulations for Special Care Units. I would hope to have the Regulations finalised in the near future, and shortly thereafte...More Button

Other sections of the Act that are not yet in force are being kept under review as to their commencement in association with relevant policy and service developments.More Button

Was asked: if the working time directive, No. 2003/88/EC, is being adhered to in respect of staff in residential care facilities who stay overnight; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The information sought by the Deputy is currently being compiled and I will revert to the Deputy as soon as the reply becomes available.More Button

Child and Family Agency Staff

Was asked: to set out the number of social work posts currently filled by persons on temporary contracts. More Button

I am informed by the Child & Family Agency that there are currently 31 social worker posts filled by persons on temporary contracts.More Button

Was asked: to set out the number of social work posts below which the Health Service Executive risk analysis would deem the service to be unsafe. More Button

A total of 1,459 social work posts transferred from the HSE to the Child & Family Agency. The complement transferring was determined following a detailed census and re-classification process undert...More Button

A rigorous system of risk analysis is in place to ensure that staffing numbers do not fall to an unsafe level as vacancies arise. These vacancies are approved for filling as a priority with an em...More Button

Was asked: to set out the number of social worker positions that are vacant in the Child and Family Agency; and the date on which these will be filled. More Button

Staffing vacancies arise for various reasons, including retirements, resignations, career breaks and unpaid leave. In addition, gaps in service cover arise where staff are on paid leave. Vacancies...More Button

I am advised by the Child and Family Agency, that since its establishment on 1 January 2014, 23 social workers have commenced employment. A further 13 are due to commence employment during March ...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 180 of 27 November 2013 if the report referred to in the reply is now to hand. More Button

I advised the Deputy last December that I had sought additional informational in relation to two posts i.e. Speech and Language Therapist and Principal Social Worker.

  I am now ...More Button

Was asked: to set out the number of education welfare officers in Dublin on maternity leave or sick leave or any other form of leave; their locations; and if they have been replaced. More Button

As the Deputy may be aware the functions and operational responsibilities of the former National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) are now part of the new Child and Family Agency, which was establis...More Button

Child Care Services Provision

Was asked: if any funding is available to support a crèche project (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The childcare service to which the Deputy refers is participating in the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme which is implemented by my Department. The CCS programme provides funding to ...More Button

Community childcare services qualify for grant aid on the basis of the level of service they provide and the profile of the parents benefiting from their service. The objective of the funding pr...More Button

  Question No. 938 answered with Question No. 936.More Button

Was asked: to set out the current status of the child care information system; and if she will provide a timeline for its full implementation. More Button

The contract to supply the National Child Care Information System (NCCIS) to the Child and Family Agency was signed in March 2013. The National Child Care Information System will be the central da...More Button

The Child and Family Agency envisage completion of the roll-out in the Mid-West region by end 2014 and, subject to review of the pilot site, the plan is to commence the national roll-out of the s...More Button

Was asked: to set out her position regarding a recommendation contained in a recently published report (details supplied) that a national expert commissioning group should be established on a cross-department...More Button

The report in question was recently received by officials in my Department and is presently under consideration.More Button

Departmental officials will meet shortly with officials from the Ombudsman for Children’s Office to discuss the report. Consideration will be given to the recommendation and how it fits with ini...More Button

Departmental Reports

Was asked: to detail the number of external or internal policy reports that have been handed to her but not yet published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: when she will publish reports currently in her possession that have not been published to date; if she will outline in tabular form the reports involved; and if she will make a statement on the mat...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 939 and 940 together.

  Internal reports are provided to me on a continuous basis in the context of the ongoing work of the various policy areas ...More Button

  Question No. 941 answered with Question No. 936.More Button

Child and Family Agency Remit

Was asked: when the Child and Family Agency will prepare a policy on corporate parenting. More Button

I have requested the information from the Child and Family Agency and I will revert to the Deputy when this information is to hand.More Button

Child and Family Agency Expenditure

Was asked: to explain the reason funding of Rape Crisis Network Ireland is due to cease at the end of March; the tendering process that will be involved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Responsibility for the funding of the Rape Crisis Centres and Refuges previously funded by the HSE became the responsibility of the new Child and Family Agency upon its establishment on 1stMore Button

Child Protection

Was asked: when the international review of the way various countries tackle the issue of children's pageants will be complete; if she will commit to a Dáil debate when the review is completed; and if she wil...More Button

My Department has commissioned and funded a research project which is being conducted by University College Cork which is looking at the impact of commercialisation and sexualisation of children in...More Button

In addition, I can confirm that my Department has commissioned the Centre for Effective Services to undertake an international review of other countries' responses to these issues, which will bui...More Button

Departmental Meetings

Was asked: to detail the number of times her Department received requests from Philanthropy Ireland to meet in 2011, 2012 and 2013; the number of times her Department met Philanthropy Ireland in those years; ...More Button

I can inform the Deputy that my Department received one request from Philanthropy Ireland in November 2011 inviting me to attend a meeting and address the members of Philanthropy Ireland on 20th J...More Button

  Question No. 954 answered with Question No. 936.More Button

Children's Rights Referendum

Was asked: to detail the legislation or initiatives that have been put on hold owing to the court challenge to the children's rights referendum; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The judgement in the High Court challenge to the result of the Children’s Referendum was delivered on 18 October. The Petitioner was unsuccessful in her petition to the High Court challenging the P...More Button

The Petitioner had also challenged, by way of plenary proceedings, the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Referendum Act 1994. The Court Hearing of these proceedings was held in Decem...More Button

I would point out that the Child and Family Agency Act 2013, passed by the Oireachtas in December 2013, makes provision relating to the best interests and views of the child in the performance of...More Button

The General Scheme and Heads of Bill of the proposed Adoption (Amendment) Bill was published in September 2012 in conjunction with the publication of the referendum proposal to inform the public ...More Button

The provisions of the proposed Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2013 will change the criteria, applicable under section 54 of the 2010 Act, under which the High Court may authorise the making of an adop...More Button

It is my intention to bring the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2013 before the Houses of the Oireachtas as soon as possible, following conclusion of all proceedings and processes relevant to the Child...More Button

The Deputy will also be aware that the Minister for Justice and Equality recently published the General Scheme of a Children and Family Relationships Bill. As the Minister stated in the press re...More Button

Adoption Legislation

Was asked: to outline her plans to amend the Adoption Act 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, work has been underway for some time on the Adoption (Information and Tracing) legislation. I intend to proceed to finalise legislative proposals on a revised basis at...More Button

As well as the information and tracing legislation, I am conscious that issues have arisen in relation to the operation of the Adoption Act, 2010, since its enactment. There are a number of gen...More Button

Ombudsman for Children Reports

Was asked: to provide her assessment of the recent report of the Ombudsman for Children, A Meta-analysis of Repetitive Root Cause Issues Regarding the Provision of Services for Children in Care; and if she wi...More Button

I welcome the publication of the Ombudsman for Children’s report ‘A Meta-Analysis of Repetitive Root Cause Issues Regarding the Provision of Services for Children in Care’ based on complaint...More Button

Child and Family Agency Reports

Was asked: if the Child and Family Agency will be publishing monthly reports with details of children's services in the manner published by the Health Service Executive up to the end of 2013; and if she will ...More Button

The Child Family Agency intends to publish details of monthly performance activity on its website at www.tusla.ie.More Button

Child Care Services Regulation

Was asked: to outline her views on the recent publication by the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice on child care services for school-age children; and if she will make a statement on the mat...More Button

The Report referred to by the Deputy is presently being considered by officials in my Department.More Button

This Report highlights the diversity of after-school services that prevail across European countries and emphasises the considerable work that needs to be done in this area, particularly in balan...More Button

A number of initiatives have been introduced in this country in recent years to support parents with the cost of after-school care. The Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme provides fu...More Button

The provision of quality after-school services is a priority for my Department and I recently brought forward legislative changes to the Child Care Act that will allow for the introduction of new...More Button

Child Care Services Funding

Was asked: to outline her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding funding for a preschool; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Considerable capital funding was made available to community and commercial mainstream childcare providers for the development and refurbishment of childcare facilities under the National Childcare...More Button

I did secure capital funding totalling €6m in Budget 2012 to provide for the refurbishment of services in which substantial Government capital and support funding had already been invested. I was...More Button

While I hope to be in a position to provide small capital grants to childcare providers for refurbishment, I do not expect to be in a position to provide capital grants which would provide for mo...More Button

Education Welfare Service Staff

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 490 of 11 March 2014, if she will provide a breakdown in tabular form on an annual basis for the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014 of the locations in...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 490 of 11 March 2014, if she will provide a breakdown in tabular form on an annual basis for the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014 of the locations in...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 966 and 967 together.

  Further to my response of 11 March to Question No. 490, the Child and Family Agency has now provided the following inform...More Button

Senior Educational Welfare Officers

AreaMore Button

  Question No. 968 answered with Question No. 958.More Button

  Question No. 969 answered with Question No. 958.More Button

Ministerial Staff

Was asked: the number of civil servants engaged in constituency work on her behalf; and the salaries, accommodation costs and expenses involved or associated with these duties.More Button

There are currently two civil servants, at Clerical Officer level, engaged in constituency work at my Department. Both are paid on the approved Clerical Officer salary scale and the gross salary fo...More Button

Youth Cafés Expenditure

Was asked: the reason an application for funding for a youth cafe distributed by her Department and assisted by Pobal was refused; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In 2013 capital funding of €1.55m was made available by my Department's for a new Youth Cafe Programme. The new scheme was announced in February 2013.More Button

Pobal assisted my Department with the application and evaluation process for the programme.More Button

Applications for new youth cafés were invited from organisations and consortia involved in the provision of services to young people, with at least 3 years’ experience in the development of youth...More Button

Some 95 applications for support under this scheme were received by Pobal.More Button

To be eligible, applications were required to demonstrate that the proposed new youth café would be developed in line with my Department’s Youth Cafes in Ireland: a Best Practice Guide; that the ...More Button

Eligible applications were then appraised on the basis of a detailed assessment of the extent to which the criteria were met. The applications that scored well in the initial process with Pobal w...More Button

Details of the successful projects are available on my Department’s website at www.dcya.gov.ie.More Button

I have been advised that the application from the group in question did not score sufficiently high in the evaluation process to be included in the list of successful projects. Should the group w...More Button

I have arranged for a copy of the detailed guidelines on the application and appraisal process provided to all applicants to be sent to the Deputy.More Button

  Question No. 974 answered with Question No. 958.More Button

  Question No. 975 answered with Question No. 936.More Button

Child Care Reports

Was asked: the investigations she is taking into the disclosure by the child care law reporting project that health officials placed a girl in the care of an uncle against whom credible allegations of sexual ...More Button

I have requested the information from the Child and Family Agency and I will revert to the Deputy when this information is to hand.More Button

Programme for Government Implementation

Was asked: if she will provide an update in tabular form of the commitments in the programme for Government that relate to her Department; and the progress that has been made in the implementation of each com...More Button

I refer the Deputy to the Programme for Government Annual Report for 2014 which is now available on the website of the Department of the Taoiseach.

  Below is a summary update of...More Button

Semi-State Bodies Remuneration

Was asked: the salaries including pensions and any other bonus related additions, including company cars, of chief executive officers of commercial State bodies under the remit of her Department; and if she w...More Button

I can inform the Deputy that there are no commercial State bodies under the remit of my Department.More Button