Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald was on Today with Pat Kenny this morning (Monday) talking about the forthcoming children right’s referendum.
She said that one reason we need the referendum is because it is so hard to adopt the children of married parents who therefore languish in the legal limbo of the foster care system for years.
The Minister said that out of roughly 5,500 children who are currently in foster care, 2,000 are the children of married parents and it is almost impossible to place them for adoption.
However, that would seem to mean that the remaining 3,500 children are the children of unmarried parents. By the Minister’s logic, these children can be placed for adoption much more easily, but this is not happening. The question therefore arises, why not?
In 2008, only 200 domestic adoption orders were granted and only 67 of these were to non-family members.
According to the latest figures from the Adoption Authority, in the second quarter of this year, a miserable 12 domestic adoption orders were granted.
In other words, very few adoptions from any kind of family are taking place and while a change to the Constitution in respect of adoption may well be necessary, it will do very little good until the Minister finds out why so few domestic adoptions are taking place and moves to rectify the situation.