4. Disclosure of Information About a Person's Adoption

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:30 am ar 20 Tachwedd 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

The Association recognises the extraordinarily difficult task of finding a balance between the rights of birth parents who request that identifying information is withheld from their adopted child, and the need of an adopted person to obtain further information. There are a small number of cases where a member of the birth family may be at significant risk if that information were disclosed because an adopted person expresses a wish to seek revenge for early abuse suffered at the hands of birth parents. There are also a few cases where the adopted person may place themselves at risk by attempting to trace their birth parent(s). It is fully acknowledged that these examples are both extreme and few in number. However it is important to recognise that the majority of children now being placed for adoption come through the court arena, many of whom have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused or neglected, or a combination of all of these factors, which suggests that the potential for similar extreme examples is likely to increase in the future.

It is also important to recognise the ease with which individuals are now able to trace birth families via the Internet, an increasing number of whom are seeking to do so without the benefit of counselling.

The new provisions enable every individual involved in a person's adoption the right to express their wishes about the sensitivity of information that identifies them, yet gives adoption agencies the discretion in exceptional circumstances to determine whether to override a decision to withhold or disclose identifying information.

In the vast majority of adoptions taking place very successful arrangements are made for the exchange of information between adoptive and birth parents as the child grows up. Yet it is for the minority of more problematic cases where safeguards need to be in place. On balance we would support the new proposals.