Minister announces new health packages for former residents of Mother and Baby Homes

A new package of health measures has been announced for former residents of Mother and Baby Homes.

They include access to GP services, counselling and mental health supports.

There will also be action taken on adoption legislation, a memorialisation programme and a research project on language and terminology.

The proposals were put forward by a forum of former residents and will be brought to government for approval in September.

The Children's Minister Katherine Zappone says she is also open to an annual day of commemoration.

"I am very pleased that the Minister for Health will develop proposals for a package of health and well-being supports, including access to appropriate health and social care measures," said Minister Zappone.

"The Minister has agreed to set up a working group with officials from my Department to report back to Government by September, in time for the Estimates process leading to Budget 2020.

"In my own area, I am proposing to amend key provisions of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill to take account of issues raised by the Forum.

I am also developing a memorialisation programme and the commissioning of research on the use of language and terminology.

The Minister has secured Government approval to amend provisions of the Adoption Bill to provide for the greatest possible release of birth information to adopted persons and other relevant persons.

Amendments are being drafted which will seek to remove the requirement for an undertaking to be signed by the person seeking their birth information.

Minister Zappone is to develop a series of measures in relation to commemorations including the establishment of a scheme to fund permanent memorials in the locality of Mother and Baby institutions, provision of financial support to survivor-led groups for annual commemoration events and a working group to develop a national memorial that "commemorates, respects and honours mothers and children held in these Institutions".

Ms Zappone thanked and congratulated the members of the Forum for their work.

"We now have the considered views of those most affected by our history in this area," said Minister Zappone.

"I am committed to moving forward, and I believe we can make real progress with the initiatives I am announcing today."

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