Thursday, 7 May 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
69. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she has taken, in view of the blacklisting of ten Health Service Executive regions by the Russian federal authorities and the consequent suspension by Russia of processing applications for adoption by persons who have had home studies prepared by these HSE regions, to ensure that the HSE regions named comply with all requirements to have their names removed from this blacklist; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18307/09]
70. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children the legal status of the letter of commitments issued by the Health Service Executive to prospective parents intending to adopt from Russia in view of the blacklisting of ten HSE regions by the Russian federal authorities and the consequent suspension by Russia of processing applications for adoption by persons who have had home studies prepared by these HSE regions; the enforceability by the HSE of the commitments given there by parents to co-operate with the HSE; the details of the agreement between the Adoption Board and the Russian Embassy pertaining to the transmission of post-placement returns; the number of instances by HSE region where such post-placement returns have not been so transmitted to the Russian authorities; the stage in the process outlined by agreement with the embassy where this failure has occurred; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18308/09]
71. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason, in view of the blacklisting of ten Health Service Executive regions by the Russian federal authorities and the consequent suspension by Russia of processing applications for adoption by persons who have had home studies prepared by these HSE regions, of the providers of home studies here only an organisation (details supplied) has a clean record in relation to the transmission of post-placement reports; the processes it has in place which can be adopted by the rest of the system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18309/09]
Post-placement reports in relation to adoption are a requirement of a number of countries that send children to be adopted by Irish applicants. In order to provide assurance to the Russian Federation, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has furnished a letter to indicate their ongoing part in the provision of such reports and to their status as the statutory body with responsibility for child protection. This letter was provided at the request of applicants who may have experienced queries in relation to arrangements for the provision of such reports. The HSE has no statutory function in relation to the provision of post-placement reports, though it has and continues to facilitate the preparation of same. The key commitment given is the legal affidavit to co-operate with the provision of such reports, required by the Russian authorities from all applicants. Where parents do not co-operate there is no legal basis to enforce their co-operation with post-adoption reporting in this jurisdiction.
My Office has been in touch with the HSE to clarify the situation in relation to any such list of outstanding reports. The Executive has confirmed that reports continue to be supplied from all regions and that it is following up in respect of reports which may be completed but not yet transmitted. Over 450 such reports were required in respect of 2008 and it is anticipated that around 400 will be required in respect of 2009 (not all due yet). The HSE in all ten areas has conducted an extensive search for these alleged “missing” post-placement reports and, in total, some 34 have not yet been transmitted. The majority of the outstanding reports have been completed and are with the adoptive parents for translation, apostilling and notarisation, that is, the social workers have already conducted the home visit and the report.
In a small number of cases, parents have neglected or have been unwilling or unable to arrange for a home visit with their social worker. Further contact has been made again to arrange for all outstanding visits to be undertaken and is being prioritised by the HSE Adoption Services to ensure that the parents can have the required reports forwarded to the Russian Embassy. From information available at this stage, only one report has been “delayed” due to scheduling difficulties. I am given to understand that a rescheduled visit is due to take place this week in relation to this particular case. In this regard, it should be noted that while the Adoption Board facilitates the transmission of completed reports to the Russian authorities, there is no formal agreement nor obligation on the board to do so.
Negotiations will be conducted with the adoptive parents support group to educate and encourage adoptive parents to process the Russian post-placements reports more expediently to ensure that this does not occur again. In addition, the HSE social workers will further monitor the situation and actively encourage that parents co-operate more fully with the Russian Ministry of Education requirements. I have also requested that this matter be raised directly with the Russian authorities.
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