One thousand one hundred and seventy-nine children were adopted throughout the country between 2009 and 2011.

Out of the number, 823 were inter-country, that means the children were sent to foreign countries.

Statistics made available to The Mirror by the Ghana office of UNICEF shows that 395 adoption cases were recorded in 2009, with 281 of the children sent out of the country.

In 2010, 431 adoption cases were recorded, with 305 sent to foreign lands.

According to the statistics, 353 adoptions were made in 2011, with 273 accounting for the number of children taken abroad.

When contacted on the issue, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, said the situation had arisen because about 19 illegal adoption agencies were operating in the country.

She also said it was difficult to trace these agencies since they operate on the Internet.

That, according to the minister, was a contradiction of international requirements which permit only agencies licensed by a particular country to handle inter-country adoptions.

She said only three agencies: Friends of Children in Italy; Bethany Christian Services of the United States of America and Adoption Centrum in Sweden had been licenced to operate in Ghana by the Department of Social Welfare.

Those agencies, the minister said, also offer humanitarian services and support children in need of protection.

According to the minister, the ministry also placed a moratorium on adoption from Ghana on April 30, 2013 and that was still in place.  She, however, gave the assurance that the moratorium would be annulled in the fourth quarter of this year.

That notwithstanding, Nana Oye Lithur said, there were exceptions where provision had been made for emergency cases during the moratorium period, where any application made must be sent to the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) which will use its discretion as to which cases were emergencies.

She reiterated that a mechanism would be put in place to ensure that the structures for monitoring adoptions in the country would be strictly adhered to.

The Minister said meanwhile, the Government of Ghana was working together with UNICEF in the interim, to create a central authority to process adoptions in Ghana with UNICEF providing technical support to ensure that all cases would be handled according to the required guidelines and regulations.

The Chief of Child Protection Programme, UNICEF, Johanna Erikson Takyo told The Mirror in a telephone interview that ?the increase in cases of adoptions, in particular inter-country adoptions, has been noted. The increase appears to have emerged, based on a steady demand for inter-country adoption of children,?

?It should be noted that as per international good practice and standard, inter-country adoption should always be a measure of last resort and only an option when no domestic solutions can be found for the child,? she explained.

Source: The Mirror


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