More than 70 prospective parents who wanted to adopt a child from abroad have been left some €190,000 out of pocket following the collapse of an accredited adoption agency.
Arc Adoption, which was granted an official licence to facilitate people in Ireland seeking to adopt a child in China, Bulgaria and the US, closed in November last year, leaving substantial debts.
The agency was not financially sustainable and there is no suggestion of a misappropriation of funds.
People seeking to adopt faced substantial bills in some cases.
Arc managed to arrange just 13 adoptions in five years, new briefing documents for Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone have now revealed.
It was partly bailed out by the Department of Children, which paid it around €100,000 in total. This included several months where the department paid for wages and other costs.
However, the department eventually pulled the plug.
It left around 72 clients in limbo and they are still owed their refundable registration fee of €2,750.
The document revealed that the department paid around €10,000 to assist Arc in repaying the clients, but it does not have a legal liability to repay any of the nearly €190,000 which is still due. It said that it is facing demands for repayment, but any decision is a matter for the Government.
A spokesman for Arc said it had now gone into voluntary liquidation and there were a number of creditors, including former staff.
People who want to adopt are being referred to the other agency which is also licensed, Helping Hands.
The Adoption Authority granted 79 declarations to people who wanted to adopt abroad last year. Children adopted here now tend to be older than in the past.
For more news on industry practices, go to Adoptionland.org