On 19 September 2023, the Adoption Authority of Ireland ("the Authority") published its Annual Report for 2022, which notes the implementation of the Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022, goals achieved throughout the year and objectives for the year ahead.
Whilst the Annual Report details statistics and figures across various topics, some key headline figures are as follows:
- Out of 110 adoption applications received by the Authority, 102 Adoption Orders were granted.
- 170 inter-country adoptions were entered in the Register of Intercountry Adoptions on foot of applications for recognition of adoptions.
- The Authority received over 2,500 applications for birth certificates, birth, early life, care and medical information through the Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022 between October and December.
- Just under 2000 people registered their details on the Contact Preference Register between 2021 and 2022, a significant increase from the previous year when 540 people registered their details. The Contact Preference Register was established in 2005 to allow those affected by adoption to make their wishes known in respect of having contact with birth family members. Of note, the 2022 Act placed the Register on statutory footing.
- The Authority received 108 tracing applications in the final three months of 2022, of which 81% had been allocated to a social worker by the end of the year.
- The Authority's staff has almost doubled. Interim CEO, Mr Colm O'Leary, noted this increase as being necessary in order to fulfil both existing and new functions under the Act.
The Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022 is most welcome and has been referred to by Ms Orlaith Traynor, Board Chairperson, as a 'seismic change' in the adoption landscape in Ireland. In particular, the Act grants individuals who have been adopted access to information regarding their identity and origins and as noted above, the Authority received over 2,500 applications for information under the Act from October to December 2022 alone.
Referring to the headline strategic goal set out in the Authority's 2022-2024 Strategic Plan, Ms Traynor stated that the Authority looks forward to 'continuing to progress [the Authority's] mission in ensuring the highest possible standards of adoption related services throughout the life-long adoption process with the best interests of children as the first and paramount objective'.
Mr O'Leary also confirmed that the Authority has now caught up in processing the backlog of information release applications with the final 127 out of 3,800 applications to complete in the coming weeks.
The full 2022 Annual Report can be accessed here.
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