Rise in calls to Barnardos helpline following publication of mother and baby homes report

The Charity said many of the people it spoke to were coming forward with their experiences for the first time in their lives. 
Rise in calls to Barnardos helpline following publication of mother and baby homes report

An ageing memorial at the Bessborough ‘Mother and Child’ Home Cemetary in Cork. Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Over 150 birthmothers, birth family members, adopted adults and adults raised in institutional care have contacted children’s charity Barnardos since the publication of the Commission of Investigation's report into Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes last week.

Barnardos said those who have gotten in touch were distressed, angry, and sad about the findings of the report, and were in need of further support and guidance.

The Charity also said many of the people it spoke to were coming forward with their experiences for the first time in their lives. 

In response to this extra demand, the charity has extended its post-adoption service helpline opening hours.

Barnardos said it has heard from birth mothers “in their 70’s and 80’s” with “long-buried traumatic memories of being frightened and lonely in a mother and baby home”, as well as from “adopted adults who have been troubled most of their lives with the need to know who they are.” 

Family members of birthmothers who have died have also been in touch. So too have adults raised in the homes seeking information on their families.

Christine Hennessy, Barnardos Post Adoption Service Leader, said the publication of the report had "seen an outpouring of anger, hurt and grief across the country." 

She said: "In many ways, while this report was welcome, it can be triggering for birthmothers, birthfathers and adult adopted people who have had experience with the system. 

It was a dark period in Irish history that is still causing a ripple effect across the country today, and many are in need of support when faced with it. 

"Our helpline will continue to provide professional and confidential support to anyone that needs it," she added. 

  • The Barnardos helpline can be contacted on (01) 4546388 or by email adoption@barnardos.ie. 
  • The confidential and professionally staffed and is open Monday - Friday, 9.30am - 4.30pm 
  • Barnardos support service for adoptive parents, children and teenagers continues and is also available at that number

The charity is also offering two online support meetings over the coming weeks:

  • For birthmothers 17th February 10.30am-12.30pm 
  • For adopted adults 19th February 10.30am-12.30pm  

Anyone who wants further information is asked to call (01) 4546388 or email adoption@barnardos.ie.  


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