Today, 03 October 2022, Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman, TD., along with the Adoption Authority of Ireland, and the Child and Family Agency, Tusla welcomed the launch of the new Information and Tracing services established under the Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022.
This landmark Act, signed into law earlier this year, provides a full and clear right of access to birth certificates, birth and early life information for all persons who were adopted, boarded out, the subject of an illegal birth registration or who otherwise have questions in relation to their origins. Additionally, it allows for access to information by a child of a relevant person where their parent has died, and for access by the next of kin of a child who died in an institution.
From today the new law establishes a robust tracing service. The tracing service will enable affected persons and those connected to them to actively seek contact or share information. The Act also introduced a wide range of new bespoke measures to address issues arising for people affected by illegal birth registration. A broad spectrum of counselling and support is available, on request, to persons affected. All of these services will be free of charge for applicants.
Applications can now be made for access to birth, early life, care and medical information and for tracing services. Information requests can be made to the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Tusla through the bespoke website www.birthinfo.ie. All information falling within the categories of information defined in the Act must be released, without exception, where it exists.
It is important to note that the Contact Preference Register, also established through this legislation and managed by the Adoption Authority of Ireland, remains open to applications and will continue to do so.
More information on the Act, the services it establishes and the persons eligible to use them, is available at www.birthinfo.ie.
Speaking about the opening of the new services, the Minister said:
“I welcome the opening of applications for birth information and tracing services through the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Tusla. I am acutely aware of the long and difficult road so many had to travel to get to this point. I am pleased and thankful though, that the day has arrived where people can with certainty and confidence access what is rightfully theirs. I wish to thank all those who campaigned for this change, and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the Adoption Authority and Tusla in bringing this into operation.”
Speaking about the opening of the new services, Adoption Authority of Ireland CEO Patricia Carey said:
“This is a historic moment. The new birth information and tracing services are about bringing comfort and understanding to the many families in Ireland who have been touched by adoption. They are about providing thousands of adopted people with information that they’ve wanted for a very long time – information that was always their own but which only now they are legally entitled to receive. They are also about helping individuals and families to connect, to share information and make contact with birth relatives who wish to do the same.
I urge anyone seeking guidance about how to apply for their birth information, how to request a tracing service, or how to add their details to the Contact Preference Register to visit the Birth Information and Tracing website at www.birthinfo.ie.”
Speaking about the opening of the new services, Siobhan Mugan, National Manager - adoption and birth information and tracing servicesat Tusla, said:
“With our colleagues in the Adoption Authority of Ireland and the support of the Minister and his Department, we have advocated for this legislation for many years. To that end, we look forward to implementing it and have actively planned for today by putting the additional resources we need in place to provide information and tracing services on a statutory basis to people who wish to receive a service.
We have recruited additional staff for our contact and support centre, who will help people with their information and tracing requests. We have also put in place small, dedicated locally based teams across the country to provide information to people, and we have enhanced our tracing services which will support people in getting timely and efficient access to tracing a relative, including genealogical support when that service is needed.”
Notes to editor:
- The Birth Information and Tracing legislation was signed into law by the President on 30 June 2022.
- The Contact Preference Register was established, and opened to applications in July. It can be accessed on birthinfo.ie.Applications may be made to the Contact Preference Register by those wishing to make contact, to request privacy, or to seek or share information with a relative.
- A Public Information Campaign, with a national and international focus, launched in July to let people know of the important changes to the law, and included a national household information booklet drop. Information booklets were also shared with libraries, citizens information centres, nursing homes, and prisons.
- Information and Tracing services are now open to applications. Applications can be made through www.birthinfo.ie.
- Applications for information can be made by persons who were adopted, boarded out or nursed out, subject to an illegal birth registration, or resided as a child in a mother and baby home or county home institution. For the first time these people will have a clear right of access to their full birth certificates, and birth, early life, care, and medical information.
- The Tracing service will enable affected persons and their relatives to actively search for each other, either for contact, or to request or share information, including vital medical information.