Ministry streamlines adoption processes

The Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) is working at streamlining and restructuring activities concerning adoption processes in the country to conform to international standards.

As part of the reforms, the ministry has created an ‘Adoption Desk’ at the headquarters of the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) in Accra, which was to, among other things, look into adoption cases that were granted from 2010 to 2013.

At a news conference to explain the ministry’s decision to suspend all adoption procedures in the country since March, this year, the sector minister, Nana Oye Lithur, said the temporary moratorium on adoption became necessary following ‘the discovery of a worrying trend in the adoption of children in a way that was detrimental to their welfare’.

Hitherto, she said, adoption procedures in the country was fraught with irregularities which were not in the best interest of the children involved, saying that one of the worrying trends of the adoption processes was how Ghanaians living abroad and foreigners had taken an interest in adopting children from Ghana.

A report by UNICEF indicates that in the last three years, a total of 1179 children were adopted with 823 taken to foreign lands.

Ghana, Nana Oye said, was desirous to accede to the Hague Convention on inter-country adoptions and in line with that had to harmonise some rules and regulations to conform to international standards.

When the ban was lifted, the minister said, there would be more transparent and standardised guidelines that all regional and district social welfare officers, as well as the general public, could appreciate.

However, she said during the period of the moratorium, special cases such as children with special needs or medical conditions who needed to be catered for immediately, those whose age might be affected by further delay, and those whose adoption was family-based would be given out.

‘The ‘Adoption Desk’ at the headquarters of the DSW shall receive emergency applications and examine the justification and convey approval where appropriate to the originating region to process the adoption application,’ she added.

The minister, who said the country recognised only three adoption agencies, which are Friends of Children, Italy; Bethany Christian Services, USA; and Adoption Centrum, Sweden, appealed to individuals or groups who had proposals that would help in the design of an Adoption and Foster Care policy for the country to contact the DSW offices for consideration.

By Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho/Daily Graphic/Ghana

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