ADOPTING: the rights of the child [UNICEF-TDH report]
Full Report is an attachment
Many children living in Nepal’s orphanages, children’s homes and other institutions (referred to in this document as child centres) are not able to fully enjoy their basic rights—the right to a family, to identity, to freedom from physical abuse, and freedom of movement. While some child centres provide adequate essential support, others deny a wide range of rights, which can have lasting effects on the lives of affected children. The key findings of this report are as follows.
A few child centres are up to standard, offering essential services to children in need. However, the quality of care and protection in many centres is substandard and is not provided in the best interests of the child.
> Below the mark
Although monitoring of child centres has improved, it is still not satisfactory. Monitoring is not systematic (one-third of centres have never been visited). The absence of monitoring in rural areas puts children at risk of abuse.
> Playing catch-up
The majority of children surveyed have living relatives from whom they have been separated; these children have often been abandoned by the child protection system rather than by their parents.
> Abandoned by the system
Orphans and children who have been ‘abandoned’ (once or several times) require psychosocial support. Child centres are not adequately equipped to provide this support.
> Mental pain: The untold story
A limited number of domestic adoptions are conducted (four per cent), while intercountry adoptions are widely practiced. Partnerships need to be created to remove legal, sociological and cultural barriers to domestic adoption. There is a general lack of alternative care for children in Nepal, such as foster care,
that could act as alternatives to intercountry or domestic adoption, given that many children in child centres do have relatives.
> East or west, a real home is best
People managing or working in child centres are powerful decision-makers in the intercountry adoption process. There are limited checks and balances in place during the matching process. In addition, there is no centralized and systematic mechanism to plan, manage, authorize and monitor intercountry adoption.
> Matching: In whose best interests?
Intercountry adoption processes lack adequate transparency and accountability.
> Improper financial gain
Biological parents are not provided with accurate information on the adoption process. The relinquishment process is flawed, as free and informed consent is not guaranteed.
> The last to know
Families are divided and siblings, including twins, separated to increase their chances of being matched.
> Siblings parted
While the recently enacted Conditions and Procedures 2008 offer a number of improvements over the previous Terms and Conditions 2000, they will not prevent malpractice. They do not provide sufficient guarantees to uphold the rights of the child.
> Too little too early