Alliance Party Leader, David Ford stated: “Northern Ireland’s adoption laws need to be revised. Adoption law must continue to be centred around the best interests of the child. As a former social worker, I am acutely aware of the very diverse ages, backgrounds and circumstances of children who need permanent homes.
“Some debate has fallen on the issue of the ability of same-sex couples to adopt. Alliance supports this reform. Already gay or lesbian individuals are allowed to adopt. The key consideration must be the stability of the home environment. Stability can be provided in all types of relationship, just as instability can exist in a range of different circumstances.
“Alliance also welcomes the removal of the religious persuasion consent. Religion of the adoptive parents should be taken into consideration but questions of religious match-ups should not present barriers to providing stability to children.
“The child’s background and wider family contacts should be taken into consideration, as many children are adopted by members of their extended family and this is another successful aspect of adoption.”
“Alliance is wary of proposals to restrict the ability of those over the age of 50 to adopt. Again, those over 50 years old can provide stable environments. While the age of potential adoptive parents should be considered, it must not be a barrier.
“Alliance hopes that the debate over updating Northern Ireland’s adoption laws will be an informed one.”