Ministry of Justice temporarily suspends adoptions by adoption agency Flash
The Ministry of Justice has taken a decision to suspend adoptions from Haiti via the adoption agency Flash without delay. The decision was in response to a report published by the Juvenile Welfare and Protection Inspector.According to the report, particularly the supervision exercised by Flash of the reliability of the information provided is inadequate. The inspector also concludes that Flash has insufficient insight into the way in which their contacts in Haitiwork.
The Ministry of Justice requested in the spring the Juvenile Welfare and Protection Inspector to conduct an investigation into the conditions in which children from Haiti are offered for adoption. This was in response tocomplaints made by parents who were in doubt about the accuracy of the information provided by Flash on the adoptive children. The complaints mainly concern the children’s age, but also their medical and social history.
The inspector claims that in many cases, the information provided on the backgrounds of the children is not consistent with what is actually experienced in the Netherlands. Parents have indicated that children often seemolder than reported or develop more rapidly than would be expected. There are also children with behavioural disorders that indicate past abuse. The report clearly shows that Flash exercises insufficient supervision with respect to the informationprovided and only conducts further investigations if parents insist. The investigation furthermore states that Flash has too little insight with respect to what takes place in Haiti. There is no supervision of the care provided and the expenditure of thefinancial means granted.
On the basis of this report, the Ministry of Justice has decided to temporarily suspend adoptions from Haiti via Flash. The agency has been requested in writing to take measures to improve its supervision and the reliabilityof its information. Until then, all adoption requests have been postponed, with the exception of those of adoptive parents who have already been introduced to a child. These requests will be dealt with as they are considered irreversible.
A number of recommendations made by the Inspector concern more of a legal aspect of the adoption procedure. The adoptive parents receive all official documents from the Haitian government. In accordance with legalobligations, the licensee (the adoption agency) requests the parents to submit these documents, but parents are not obliged to comply. The Ministry of Justice is considering legally obliging parents to submit the documents provided. The Inspector has alsoobserved a power vacuum between the moment of legal relinquishment according to Haitian law and the moment that the adoptive parents acquire parental authority in the Netherlands. A bill on Foreign Adoption Conflict Law that stipulates that an adoptionpronounced abroad is automatically valid in the Netherlands has been submitted to the Lower