Tulsa to receive extra resources to cope with applications for birth information

A statutory service has been established to allow adoptees to access to their birth certificate and medical information
Tulsa to receive extra resources to cope with applications for birth information

Vivienne Clarke

Additional staff, extra resources and better IT will mean Tusla and the Adoption Board will be prepared to cope with the increase in people seeking information regarding their birth, early life and medical details, the Minister for Children has said.

From Monday, a statutory tracing service will be available for adoptees who wish to make contact with birth relatives.

This follows the signing into law of the Birth Information and Tracing Act, providing people who were adopted with access to their birth certificates, and information on their early life, care and medical history.

Roderic O’Gorman told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland there needs to be a culture change in Tusla and the Adoption Board where they must give people their information. In the past, the culture was not to provide information, he added.

The Minister's comments followed concern expressed by Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance who said that while access to information was significant and important, Tusla is entirely unsuitable to deliver this service.

Tusla is under-resourced and under-trained in family tracing, Ms Lohan argued, adding that she has "major misgivings" because the organisation had spent decades denying adopted people access to vital information with no legal basis.

Mr O’Gorman said extra resources had been made available to Tusla and the Adoption Board. Additional staff included people experienced in genealogy, while a bespoke website - www.birthinfo.ie - has also been launched as part of IT improvements.

Regarding the Contact Preference Register, Mr O'Gorman said of the 16,600 who had signed up, only 400 had indicated a preference of 'no contact'.

For anyone affected in such a case, counselling will be provided if requested, he added.

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