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Cameroon: Jean Pierre Edjoa - «People Need to be Educated on Child Adoption»


Cameroon: Jean Pierre Edjoa - «People Need to be Educated on Child Adoption»

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Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)
4 November 2008
Posted to the web 5 November 2008
Brenda Yufeh
Jean Pierre Edjoa, Centre Provincial Delegate of the Ministry of Social Affairs, explains.
What does the law says about child adoption in Cameroon?

There are two types of child adoption in Cameroon; simple and plenary adoption. Simple adoption is that which takes place after two families or parents have come to the understanding that somebody adopt one of their children. This is an agreement which ends up with a recognition document from a court. Plenary adoption is that which takes place when there is no linkage between the person who wants to adopt a child and the child concerned. There are certain conditions which the person need to fulfil depending on whether the person is a Cameroonian or not. There are individual and social inquiries a person needs to fulfil. Individuals should be more than 40 years of age, couples should be in ten years of marital life, medically healthy, women should medically prove that they can never bear children; individuals should present their criminal records, the individual who wants to adopt a child must present somebody (a guarantee) who will continue to take care of the adopted child in case of any problem. Social inquiries of the guarantor will also be carried out by social workers. Foreigners who want to adopt a child in Cameroon first of all need to present an agreement, psychological profile, identification papers from their government together with a report of their social inquiries. After fulfilling these conditions, the Ministry of Social Affairs will provide a letter of agreement from which the individual will proceed to obtain the judicial agreement.
It is said that some social workers create anarchy in the adoption of children in Cameroon thereby encouraging child trafficking.
I can not say for sure if this is true. But if a social worker is involved in child trafficking, this is at an individual level, not the fault of the administration. I have heard about such things and I do not know why people refuse to fulfil the procedure required in adopting a child. Some people say the procedure is long. I have many files which date back over a year of people who want to adopt children in Cameroon. The individuals no longer follow-up their files and I do not know if they have abandoned the procedure or chosen the illegal means of child adoption. Sometimes people do so with the complicity of social workers or other means. This is not the way things are supposed to be. There are rumours which indicate that social workers are involved in the illegal means of adopting children in Cameroon, but so far, we have not received any concrete case.
What measures are being taken by the ministry to ensure that the law is respected?
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Central Africa
Children and Youth

The ministry needs to widely inform the population on the laws guiding child adoption in Cameroon. The population needs to be well informed. Also, people need to be educated on the meaning of adoption. They need to know that adoption is creating a definite linkage with a child. Thus, people need to be legally and physiologically sensitised to take the right decision towards adoption. Social workers as well as the population need to be informed on the legal prejudices of child trafficking.

2008 Nov 4