CHILDREN deserve a loving home with caregivers who can provide them with a safe environment. It’s no secret that not all children have access to it, but thanks to adoption, it is possible for some children. We look at the process and importance of adoption as we celebrate World Adoption Day.
Adoption is a legal procedure for the permanent placement of a minor child with one or more persons other than the biological parent(s) through a juvenile court. This process is guided by the Children’s Act No. 38 of 2005.
In South Africa, the adoption process is facilitated free of charge by the Department of Social Development. The ministry shared with us the rules and regulations for this lengthy but helpful process.
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The role of the department is to ensure that legal process is followed thoroughly, which ensures the safe placement of the minor.
According to the department, the Children’s Act No. 38 of 2005 changed past adoption practice by removing some of the restrictions that had limited the use of adoption in the past.
“This has made the system more appropriate to the local context, thereby promoting adoption as a legal means of placing children with families, where appropriate. It brought new provisions to the practice of adoption.
“The provincial Department of Social Development is now taking a more active role in facilitating adoptions and monitoring the services provided by child welfare agencies and adoption social workers in private practice. It also concretized the obligations of the Republic regarding the welfare of children under the international instruments binding the Republic in matters of intercountry adoption,” said Department Spokesperson Mhlabunzima Memela.
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Here, the department shares what qualifies a child to adopt and who can adopt the child. There are different stages to adoption, from the child qualifying for adoption, to who can adopt and how fit they are.
According to Article 230, paragraph 3 of the Children’s Act No. 38 of 2005, a child is adoptable if:
– The child is an orphan and has no guardian or caregiver willing to adopt the child;
– The whereabouts of the child’s parent or guardian cannot be determined;
– The child has been abandoned;
– The parent or guardian of the child abused or deliberately neglected the child, or allowed the child to be abused or deliberately neglected;
– The child needs a permanent alternative placement.
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According to Article 231, paragraph 1, it describes the persons who can adopt a child as follows:
(a) Jointly by –
– A husband and wife
– Partners in a life-partnership permanent domestic relationship;
– Other persons sharing a common household and forming a permanent family unit.
b) By a widower, widower, divorced or single person;
(c) by a married person whose spouse is the parent of the child or by a person whose permanent domestic life partner is the parent of the child;
(d) the biological father of a child born out of wedlock; Where
(e) by the foster parent of the child.
In order to qualify to be a prospective adoptive parent, a ‘to have to’, in accordance with article 231, paragraph 2, be:
Be fit and proper to be given full parental responsibility and rights over the child; willing and able to assume, exercise and maintain these responsibilities and rights with respect to the child; over the age of 18, and properly assessed by an adoption social worker for compliance with the above.
Read in our next article the rules that guide the legal adoption process.