A ban on adoption process in Ghana the Minister Hon. Nana Oye Lithur

must take the opportunity to engage media on further discourse on the moratorium (suspension) of adoption process that was announced at meet the press at Osu Children home . This engagement has two main objectives:

  • To deepen our understanding on the issues that relate to inter-country adoptions in the best interest of the child in accordance with the norms of international law.
  • To initiate a media advocacy aimed at increased public awareness and to generate vigorous and continuous debate on the subject among stakeholders and the general public.

Minister told media you would recall that on the 24th March, 2013, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection announced a moratorium/temporary hold on adoptions in Ghana. While the Ministry is aware that many interest groups are concerned about the period the moratorium covers, and what the future holds for adoptions in Ghana, the Ministry has a responsibility to protect the vulnerable, including children.

 

The Moratorium became necessary following the discovery of a worrying trend in the adoption of children in a way that is detrimental to their welfare, the temporary ban was therefore of enable the Ministry to ensure re-engineering and review of the adoption processes in order to ensure best practices for effective service delivery.

 

Additionally, the moratorium aims at streamlining and restructuring the role of the Department of Social Welfare in the adoption process in order to bring about a more transparent and standardized guidelines that all regional and district social welfare officers as well as the general public can appreciate.

 

During the period of moratorium, special cases (Emergency Cases) would be determined and granted approval for processing at the headquarters of the Department of Social Welfare. An adoption Desk has been created as part of the reforms.

 

Special / Emergency cases may include but not limited to the following :

  • Special Needs/Medical Conditions : Examples of such include children with various forms of disability who require specialized care not readily available from their parent(s) or residential Children?s House, HIV/AIDS infected/affected children, newly born children with congenital problems that parent(s) may be incapable/unwilling to care for or give proper care.
  • Children? whose age may be affected by further delay.
  • Family based adoptions.

 

The Adoption Desk at the Headquarters of the Department of Social Welfare shall receive emergency applications and examine the justification and convey approval where appropriate to the originating region to process the adoption application. The Minister shall be provided with? all such emergency applications at the end of each month.

 

Minister told media, Ghana is desirous to accede to the Hague Convention on inter-country adoptions. In line with that, some review measures with regards to rules and regulations for foster care and adoptions, need to be put in place. Such reviews would culminate into the setting up of a Central Authority at the Department of Social Welfare. This Central Authority would then regulate all adoption across the country.

 

For about six years now, the Care Reform Initiative has worked so well to properly situate the Department of Social Welfare in readiness for foster care and adoptions. Recognizing that this is a process, the creation of the adoption desk thus seeks to coordinate activities in our orphanages and communities in furtherance of the Care Reform Initiative. The arrangement is more critical now as matching of children would be easier. The Department would proceed on this road map even as it reviews past events and activities.

 

As part of the reforms, an ?adoption desk? is currently receiving all adoption files from all ten regional Social offices to begin to review all adoptions that have taken place between 2010 and 2013 with reference to aspects of adoption involving social welfare. The lessons learnt from such an exercise would enhance our resolve to contrast relevant and internationally acceptable ground rules for Foster care and Adoptions in Ghana.

 

Minister told media, it would also be the beginning the establishment of a central Database on Foster care and adoptions for the country. It is in view of this that the general public, Government agencies and particularly our International Partners are invited to see this a s a positive and determined resolve on the part of the Government of Ghana to enhance a much more transparent and simple adoptions and Foster Care procedure that put the welfare of the child first.

 

As stated earlier all emergency cases are to be forwarded to the Adoption Desk at the headquarters of Social Welfare for consideration even as we go on with our reviews schedule. Any person(s) or group that also have proposal that would be helpful in the design of an Adoption and Foster Care policy may also lodge it with the Department of Social Welfare for consideration.

 

The results of the review of the Adoption and Foster Care system will consequently by integrated into the larger Child and Family Welfare policy. UNICEF is helping social Welfare? harmonize the regulations and procedures for adoption and once this is completed, the public and stakeholders would be informed accordingly. We hope that the media would be very functional in this respect. We also wish to appreciate our benevolent donors for their immense support.

 

We resolve as a Ministry to execute our mandate by working with relevant bodies and Ministries such as the National Child Protection Committee, Development Partners, (including UNICEF) as well as the general public and the media to reform the child Protection system in Ghana.

 

. By Joshua SOWU

[email protected]

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