Evolution of Intercountry Adoption in the Philippines

Department of Social Welfare and Development
IBP Complex, Constitution Hills, Quezon City
Evolution of Intercountry Adoption in the Philippines:
Country of Origin Perspective
4th Asia Pacific Regional Conference
The Work of the Hague Conference on
Private International Law
Undersecretary Alicia R. Bala
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
October 26, 2011
Child and Youth Welfare Code
 Family Code
 Domestic Adoption Law
 Inter-country Adoption Law
 charitable institutions provided shelter and
care for abandoned and destitute children
 first government orphanage was
 placement of children from institution to families
as a government policy;
 creation of the Office of the Public Welfare
Commissioner (Act 2988) who authorized public
institutions/charitable societies to place children
for adoption/placement;
 resident aliens were allowed to adopt
 New Civil Code (RA 386) and Revised
Administrative Code
 Only childless couples, including resident aliens
may adopt
 Adoption was directly handled by the courts
Child and Youth Welfare Code (PD 603)
 allowed any person in full possession of
his/her civil rights to adopt;
 resident and non-resident aliens may adopt
 aliens cannot:
 when he/she is not allowed according to
the laws of his own country;
 if his/her country has no diplomatic ties w/
the Phil.
 social workers were involved w/ adoption
 Council for the Welfare of Children prescribed
policies/procedures on the adoption of Filipino child
in a foreign country;
 As a policy, foreign adoption is only resorted to when
the needs of child cannot be met in the Philippines;
 Authority to approve adoptive placements and travel
of children was vested on the Secretary of the DSWD;
 Also provided other safeguards for Filipino children
who were then leaving the country for foster care to
the Scandinavian countries
 bilateral agreements were entered into w/ Denmark,
Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Norway
DSWD- Bureau of Child and Youth Welfare formulated
polices/procedures for inter-country adoption
 Special Child Welfare Services Unit was created
directly under the Office of the Minister/Secretary to
handle foreign Adoption cases
Problems Arising from Adoption
by non-resident aliens then:
 social workers’ dilemma to effectively conduct an effective
home study on a foreign couple;
 influence of neo-colonial attitudes on persons involved in
adoption process biased towards foreign adoptive families
over Filipino counterparts;
 child trading became rampant especially near the
American bases;
Problems Continuation
Executive Order No. 91 amending provisions of the Child
and Welfare Code
Only aliens who have resided in the Philippines for at
least one year and can comply with the mandatory
supervised trial custody of six months were allowed to
Only DSWD Social Workers were authorized to conduct
case studies
strengthening of the Special Child Welfare Service units
and renamed to the Phil. Inter-country Adoption Unit
creation of a Task Force participated in by NGOs / child
caring agencies for child matching
New Family Code
Aliens were not allowed to adopt in the Philippines except in
the following instances:
 where the adopting alien is a former Filipino citizen
who seeks to adopt a relative by consanguinity;
 when the adopting alien seeks to adopt the legitimate
child of his or her Filipino spouse; or
 where the alien is married to a Filipino citizen and
seeks to adopt jointly with his or her spouse a relative
by consanguinity of the later.4
 Aliens not in these categories, however, “ may adopt
Filipino children in accordance with the rules of intercountry adoption as may be provided by law.”
Legislations on Adoption
 Domestic Adoption Law of 1998
 The Inter-country Adoption Law 1995
 embodies principles of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child, Hague Convention on the
Protection of children and Cooperation in
respect to Inter-country Adoption, Child and
Youth Welfare Code and the Family Code
Inter-Country Adoption Law
Inter-country Adoption law recognizes that every neglected
and abandoned child should be provided with a family who
can give him/her love and care as well as opportunities for
growth and development.
Efforts shall be exerted to have the Filipino child be adopted
by qualified Filipino families/citizens or aliens residing in the
The law upholds the previous policy that inter-country
adoption is the last resort to provide a permanent home to a
Children eligible for adoption are those voluntarily or
involuntarily committed to the Department of Social Welfare
and Development ( DSWD ).
A child study which contains basic information about the
child’s identity, family background and current mental,
psychological, physical and social functioning is supported
by documents such as birth certificate, etc.
Requirements for the prospective adoptive parents
have not changed in general. A psychological evaluation
and guardianship plans are new requirements. The childcaring agencies have also given more attention to religious
practices and marriage patterns of PAPs.
The procedures have not changed – from matching
to finalization of the child’s adoption. However,
considering past experiences, more details in the
procedures are now available particularly in relation to
disruptions of placements. Post-adoption services are
now being developed.
The Inter-Country Adoption Board as the central
authority in matters relating to inter-country
adoption: policy making and regulatory body and
approves all adoption applications and placements
reviewed by the Inter-Country Placement
the principle that the child’s best interest is
paramount over that of the adopting parents
 International cooperation is imperative to ensure that
inter-country adoption works for the children’s best
 The standards of adoption services must be beyond
question as agencies qualify for accreditation by the
Central Authorities and competent bodies.
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