New rights for families of those adopted

15 August 2014, 16:56 | Updated: 15 August 2014, 17:17

Children whose parents have been adopted could get the right to find out about their biological family. Heart's being told it could extend to grandparents too.

Gwenda Thomas, The Deputy Minister for Social Services, said the Welsh Government is committed to extending access to intermediary services to the children and grandchildren of those adopted in Wales before 30 December 2005.

A different procedure is in place in relation to adoptions, which have taken place on or after 31 December 2005. 

Intermediary services, which may be managed by a local authority, voluntary adoption agency or adoption support agency, were set up to facilitate contact between adopted people and their birth relatives.

Today, the services can only be used by adopted people and their birth relatives.

Welsh Ministers are now in discussion on using new powers to extend access to such services to other categories of people such as the children and grandchildren of adopted persons, and to members of the adopted person's wider family, such as the spouses of their descendants.

Under the new plans, adopted people may write to veto and prevent an intermediary agency from making contact or to say that they only want to be contacted in certain circumstances.

Karen Evans, 61 from Cardiff was adopted when she was a baby, Karen says…

“On the one hand it’s good for medical reasons but on the other hand some adopted people were adopted for other reasons and it may open a can of worms.

It’s very awkward when you go to the doctors and they say can I have your medical history and you haven't got a clue about it and I think the knowledge of knowing your biological parents had cancer or mental health issues would be helpful.

I think the plans would be excellent for medical history but I think too much could be revealed and that could really rock a family.

It’s a good thing that you can write and say you don’t want people to look into it, but I think you should be able to say you want all medical history revealed but that you don’t want other things to be looked into.”

The Welsh Government plans to bring regulations into force for Wales by summer 2015.