20 April 2011

Frances Sends Adoption Authority to Vietnam in the hope of making progress for families

Minister asks Adoption Authority to visit Vietnam to give clarity to Irish families hoping to adopt from Vietnam

Local Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, has asked the Chairman of the Adoption Authority to visit Vietnam. Many Irish families wishing to adopt have chosen Vietnam as their country of origin but adoptions from Vietnam have been suspended since May 2009.

Minister Frances Fitzgerald and the Authority agreed that, in view of the fact that Vietnam hopes to ratify the Hague Convention in June, it would be appropriate for the Authority to visit Vietnam.

“I have met many people throughout Lucan, Clondalkin and Palmerstown who are anxiously awaiting progress with Vietnamese authorities so adoptions can begin again,” said Frances Fitzgerald.

“I met with Adoption Authority this week and asked them to visit Vietnam and explore the progress Vietnamese authorities have made in addressing the profound concerns which caused the suspension of adoptions,” continued Frances Fitzgerald.

“Although Vietnam has signed the Hague Convention, a significant body of work that still needs to be done to protect children and fully ratify the Convention. With this in mind, I have asked the Authority to visit Vietnam to assess current standards and provide me with a report so that we can give clarity to Irish people who are anxiously awaiting information on progress in Vietnam,” explained Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

“The Adoption Authority was established in November, and the first CEO has just been appointed. It is therefore very timely for me to meet the Authority and to start working together to move the adoption agenda forward.’

The Minister congratulated Ms. Elizabeth Canavan, the new CEO, on her appointment. Ms. Canavan, who took up the post yesterday, has considerable experience in adoption matters, including the drafting of the 2010 Adoption Act, active involvement with the Hague Conference on Private International Law and visits to countries of origin, including Russia and Vietnam. “I am delighted that the Authority has a CEO with such experience, which will be very helpful as it moves forward.”

The meeting discussed the proposed information and tracing legislation and issues about intercountry adoption. The Minister expressed her sympathy for the anxiety of many prospective adoptive parents and said that she is anxious that the Authority would provide clarity to Irish people who want to adopt abroad.

The Minister referred to the work of the Adoption Authority, under the Chairmanship of Geoffrey Shannon. “Considerable progress has been made on accrediting bodies to provide adoption services and on developing new procedures. I am hopeful that the appointment of a CEO will ensure that quick progress is made on a range of issues, including developing relationships with countries of origin” She added that the Authority is fortunate to have hired someone with the national and international expertise of Geoffrey Shannon as Chairman, and said that she looked forward to working closely with the Authority over the next few months.