Draft bill favours local adoption for children

Relates to:
Date: 2009-08-22

HA NOI — The adoption of Vietnamese orphans by foreigners will only be permitted after all attempts to place them with a local family have failed, states the draft child adoption bill prepared by the Ministry of Justice.

At a seminar held yesterday in Ha Noi to discuss the bill, Nguyen Cong Khanh, deputy head of the ministry’s Department for Child Adoption said this point "absolutely conforms with the principle of giving priority to in-country adoption, which is recognised in international conventions related to children, especially the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect to Inter-country Adoption."

In addition, it aims to ensure children get the chance to live in their home country, which most closely meets their needs and their identity.

The bill stipulates that a search for local adoptive families is a compulsory step before accepting foreign options.

Specifically, the bill requires an in-country search to be conducted simultaneously at the communal, provincial and central levels for 90 days. This replaces the previous regulation that required a only a 30-day search at the provincial level.

Many violations

Another new stipulation in the bill states that the legal authority to put children up for foreign adoption lies with the Ministry of Justice, not nursing establishments as is currently the case.

This point aims to prevent a variety of issues that have arisen in connection with putting children up for foreign adoption which have occurred in some localities due to the conflicting functions at local nursing centres. The nursing centres have been able to care for orphaned children and accept humanitarian aid from foreign organisations and individuals, while at the same time directly placing children up for foreign adoption.

According to reports from 49 departments of justice nationwide there were 100 cases of violations connected with adoptions during the 2004-09 period.

At the seminar, representatives from departments of justice, police, and labour, war invalids and social affairs from 22 northern provinces contributed their suggestions to complete the bill, which is scheduled for proposal to the National Assembly in October at its sixth session.

According to the Ministry of Justice, from 2003 to the end of June 2009, nearly 20,000 Vietnamese children have been adopted, including 6,000 by foreigners.

Viet Nam has signed adoption agreements with Italy, France, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, Sweden and the US, and is preparing to join the 1993 Hague Convention. — VNS

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