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Council of Irish Adoption Agencies (CIAA) Associate Group

CIAA was founded in 1961 as a forum for adoption agencies and was originally known as the Central Council of Catholic Adoption Societies. In 1996 the name was changed to the Council of Irish Adoption Agencies to reflect that the organisation no longer differentiated from other adoption agencies. It is hoped to shortly agree another new name to reflect the change that has taken place in membership since the closure of many of the original adoption agencies.

Mission Statement

To provide a forum for social workers to ensure best practice in adoption through continuous professional development and training and influencing social work policy and legislation.

Aims of CIAA

  • To ensure all its members operate to the highest professional standards.
  • To provide continuous professional development workshops and relevant training that reflects current social work practice issues.
  • To provide a national forum for members to share information.
  • To disseminate relevant information and research findings and promote and encourage research.
  • To highlight and address relevant adoption practice issues.
  • To influence policies in line with current practice.
  • To campaign for changes in legislation
  • To advocate on behalf of social workers in adoption to insure best practice in adoption.
  • To promote the best interests of social workers in adoption.
  • To be available for consultation with government and non-government agencies.
  • To contribute to and co-operate with government investigations into previous adoption practices.
  • To liaise with related organisations re common practice issues.
  • To abide by the rules of being an associate member of the Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW) and liaise as required.
  • To provide social workers in adoption with an independent professional voice both separately and through the IASW.
  • To contribute to the IASW AGM by way of motions and debate from CIAA.
  • To nominate members (who are IASW members) to represent IASW on working groups, committees, statutory and voluntary organisations.

Ethics & Values

Members who are Social Workers are required to adhere to (1) CORU Social Work Registration Board’s Code of Professional Conduct & Ethics & (2) IASW Code of Ethics and Code of Practice. Other members are required to adhere to the code of practice of their respective accredited bodies.

Membership & Committees

All social workers in adoption who are employed by Tusla Adoption Services or an accredited agency are automatically members of CIAA and can attend Council meetings. Social workers /individuals with relevant experience in adoption can become co-opted members.

Adoption social work practitioners who are employed by Tusla Adoption Services or an accredited agency are required to be currently registered with CORU. Social workers who have retired or are currently working in a non social work post should  have a social work qualification recognised by the former CQSW recognised by CCETSW, the National Board, or be registered as social workers with CORU.

CIAA has a Council and an Executive Committee. The ongoing work of CIAA is undertaken by the Executive Committee which is elected by the Council and reports back at Council meetings. There are up to nine elected members on the Executive which has the power to co-opt up to four additional members, with relevant adoption experience. The Executive Committee meets 4 times a year and the Council two to three times a year. CIAA runs several training days each year which focus on relevant current social work practice issues and research and are very well attended by social workers from around the country.

information and continuous professional development workshops that all its members operate to the highest professional standards. CIAA is a member of the Irish Association of Social Workers.

http://councilofirishadoptionagencies.ie/

The Council of Irish Adoption Agencies Committee members during 2019 are

  • Hazel Douglas (Acting Chair)
  • Mary Farrell (Secretary) 
  • Laura Shine             
  • Therese McDermott
  • Sinead Whiting (Treasurer)                 
  • Eileen Browne
  • Joan Thompson                                    
  • Deirdre Chambers
  • Therese McCaffrey

Membership

The membership numbers for the CIAA for 2019 are approximately 110. (These include all social work practitioners in adoption services throughout the country, nominated retired social workers and co-opted members with relevant experience in adoption.)

Activities / Events for 2019

  • Training Day in March 2019 - Challenges for Social Workers in Adoption Practice in 2019

A two-part training day. The first session to focus on the present issues which are  impacting the delivery of an Information and Tracing Service, with particular reference to the new GDPR regulations and the new proposed draft amendments to the Adoption (Information and Tracing Bill) 2016  The second session to address the possible implications for birth mother counselling and placement services for Domestic Adoption in the light of a High Court Judicial Review in December 2018. Both sessions to be interactive and with an opportunity for social workers to express concerns and discuss how to navigate a way forward.

  • Training Day in November 2019 - An Exploration of the services offered by Barnardos to children and adults who are impacted by adoption and the implications for social work practice

A two-part training day. The first session to focus on issues emerging from Barnardos therapeutic intervention service for families of children who have been adopted through intercountry adoption and domestic post adoption which is now being run on a national basis. The second session to highlight issues arising from the therapeutic service being run by Barnardos for adults seeking support because of incorrect birth registrations. These services are both being funded by Tusla. The sessions are to be interactive and led by Barnardo’s Adoption Team.

Other Highlights from the Year

  • A number of letters were sent to Minister of Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, expressing serious concerns on behalf of CIAA & IASW following further amendments she proposed to make to the Adoption (Information & Tracing) Bill 2016 and to request the establishment of an ongoing consultative process.
  • Engagement in lobbying the Seanad on behalf of the CIAA & IASW before these proposed amendments could be implemented. The resultant attendance of representatives at a consultation process set up by the Minister at the recommendation of the Seanad and the Bill being deferred until other proposals are considered.
  • Submission to Adoption Authority (AAI) expressing concerns for Domestic adoption placement practice following a High Court Judicial Review. Resultant decision of AAI to redraft the Guidelines for Domestic Adoption to take policy and practice changes since their publication in 2014 into account; the implications since changes in legislation including the Adoption Amendment Act 2017 and the implications arising from High Court judgement. AAI is to consult with CIAA, Tusla agencies and support groups.
  • CIAA representation and contribution to An Open Policy Debate on ‘The Potential Introduction of Open or Semi Open adoption in Ireland’ hosted by DCYA in May.
  • CIAA representation at launch of Barnardos and Tusla’s newly expanded National Post Adoption Service hosted by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in June.

Hazel Douglas - Acting Chair