Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Placing Infant for adoption

The Child and Family Agency, Tusla, is committed to providing the highest possible standards in our adoption services with the best interests of children as the first and paramount objective. Accordingly, the purpose of this document is to set out the policy and procedure for the placing of children for adoption by their birth parents/ legal guardians underpinned by the Adoption Acts 2010 - 2017 and the Child Care Acts 1991-1995.

Legal framework

The Child and Family Agency, Tusla has statutory powers under the Child Care Act 1991, Adoption Act 2010, and the Adoption Amendment Act 2017 to place children for adoption in certain circumstances. (It should be noted that under Section 125 of the Adoption Act 2010 only Tusla or an accredited body can legally place a child for adoption).

Section 6 of the Child Care Act 1991 Section 6 (3) A health board may take a child into its care with a view to his adoption and may maintain him in such care in accordance with the provisions of this Act until he is placed for adoption.

Adoption Act 2010 Section 15 (1) set out the care of the child pending placement. Whilst the Adoption Act 2010 Section 15 allows for the placement of children in care for the purpose of adoption, Tusla relies on Section 4 of the Child Care Act 1991 further to Section 6 of the same Act, in monitoring such placements as this provides for more safeguards such as the 1995 Placement of Children in Foster Care Regulations and the National Standards for Foster Care 2003.

As the birth mother has automatic guardianship of the infant and is requesting adoption for her child her rights are set out in Section 14 of the Adoption Act. Notwithstanding her right to be counselled regarding the adoption of her child, the birth father also has rights. Accordingly, birth fathers’ rights to be consulted are addressed in Part 3, Chapter 2 of the Adoption Act 2010, Sections 17 and 18.

The birth fathers’ rights are dependent upon whether he is a legal guardian or not. Fathers who are married to the birth mother are legal guardians. The Amendment to Section 2 of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 (4A) sets out the circumstances in which fathers who are not married to the birth mother are considered legal guardians. The circumstances are as follows,

“that the father and mother of the child concerned -

  • have not married each other, and
  • have been co-habitants for not less than 12 consecutive months occurring after the date on which this subsection comes into operation (January 2016), which shall include a period, occurring at any time after the birth of the child, of not less than three consecutive months during which both the mother and father have lived with the child.”

As per Section 16 (1) A request is made in every case to the AAI seeking a copy of any notice (F4) received by the child’s birth father detailing his wishes to be consulted before consideration is given to the next steps.

Infant adoption process

  • Referrals from birth mother, hospital
  • Voluntary consent for the admission to care for the purpose of adoption
  • Consultation in adoption with guardians
  • Matching the infant with prospective adoptive parents
  • Transitioning the infant from pre adoptive foster care to their adoptive parents
  • Post placements, monitoring, and visits

It must be noted that while a number of babies are placed for adoption each year in many cases the child is returned to the mother and/or the child’s family.

Granting the order

In accordance with the Adoption Act 2010 Section 13, which states — An accredited body shall not place a child for adoption unless—

(a) the child has attained the age of 6 weeks,

(b) it does so only for adoption purposes under this Act, and

The Adoption Authority approved the placement of the child with their prospective adoptive parents once the matching process has been completed. Once placed, the child will be subject to two placement reports and if satisfactory in addition to the final consent of the guardian being signed an order will be granted by the Authority.

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