Children of adopted children may get rights to contact birth parents in Wales

Children of adopted children may get rights to contact birth parents in Wales

Welsh ministers have opened consultations on proposals to give adopted children and their offspring rights to seek their birth parents.

At present only adopted adults and their birth brothers and sisters have the right.

One of the reasons put forward for the proposal is to help families discover if there are inherited health problems in the family lineage.

Ministers are also seeking views on widening contact to aunts, uncles, stepchildren and cousins.

The Welsh adoption system is currently undergoing a wider overhaul, moving the previously fractured system into one single, national agency with the aim of streamlining the service countrywide.

Deputy minister for social services, Gwenda Thomas said: “I believe that there are good reasons why access to intermediary services should be extended to the descendants and relatives of adopted persons. For example, there may be health reasons such as finding out about a hereditary medical condition or other health issue which could affect the health of a person’s children.”

Counselling, support and advice will be available from intermediary services in Wales, such as local authorities and adoption agencies, to facilitate contact between adopted people and their birth relatives. The proposal claims that relevant safeguards will be put in place to protect families who do not wish to be contacted and to “balance the sometimes competing rights” of adopted people, their families and birth relatives.

New regulations are expected to be applied to the adoption system in Wales by the Spring of 2015.

The consultation closes 27/10/14.

(Image: “Gwenda Thomas” by National Assembly For Wales / Cynulliad Cymru)