To protect children, central agencies to manage adoption

Date: 2008-08-25

VietNamNet Bridge – Speaking to correspondents on the sideline of a meeting reviewing the implementation of the bilateral agreement on adoption between Vietnam and the US, Head of the Ministry of Justice’s International Adoption Agency Vu Duc Long said the management of adoption will be centralised.

Q. The case in Nam Dinh revealed that state agencies, including the International Adoption Agency, respond too slowly and ineffectively, didn’t it?

A. Our difficulties were shortages of information and power.

What is the direction of this case?

There will be no change for the children who were adopted. The violators in Vietnam will be penalised, the adopted children will not be brought back to Vietnam.

Provincial Departments of Justice are in charge of checking and approving adoption files, so what is their responsibility if violations are detected?

It depends on the seriousness of violations. But it is very difficult to verify adoption documents if they are sophisticated counterfeits, because criminals begin forging documents when children enter orphanages.

So who will be sued by families who lose their children?

If their children are kidnapped, they have to sue the kidnappers or those who lend a hand to the kidnappers. We have the Law on Human Trafficking Prevention. In the case in Nam Dinh, it is very difficult to prove kidnapping.

What do you think about provinces permitting the establishment of orphanages which are very poor in facilities?

The orphanage in Nam Dinh is a district-level unit, while district-level management is very poor. This is a lesson. Some provinces have inspected local orphanages and closed down some units, for example the Viet Lam orphanage in Phu Tho province.

Some orphanages in southern provinces are being inspected. If district-level orphanages don’t have good facilities and are not managed well, they will be closed.

The recent US report on adoption in Vietnam said that some officials of the International Adoption Agency received money under the table or accepted overseas tours. What is your opinion about it?

They overstated officials demanding overseas tours or going shopping. The information is inaccurate. It is necessary and normal for officials to be invited to visit adopted children abroad to check and exchange information between related sides. They were voluntarily invited and Vietnam seriously observes regulations.

They said Vietnamese officials raised difficulties to seek profit. That’s not good. We have asked the US side to send us financial reports of Vietnamese delegations. If they overspent, they will be punished.

As an expert in adoption, what solutions do you think will help solve problems associated with international adoption?

The strongest solution is the issuance of the Law on Adoption. This law will basically change the management mechanism. Accordingly, the direct relations between orphanages and international adoption agencies will be abolished. Central agencies will directly manage adoption activities and relations with adoptive parents.

In addition, a national unified adoption assistance fund will be set up to diminish financial ambiguity and the ability to seek profit from adoption at grassroots agencies.

The power to make decisions currently belongs to orphanages and locations where the orphanages are located. This power will be centralised.

What about the experience of other countries in adoption?

One of the principles of the La Haye Convention asks member countries to control adoption activities, so centralisation is the best solution.

Vietnam should follow the model of China. They centralised everything and none of the power is given to local agencies.

Xuan Linh

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