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 by Undersecretary Alicia R. Bala Mandarin Oriental Hotel October 26, 2011 Child Birth Parents Adoptive Parents THE ADOPTION TRIANGLE ADOPTION LAWS Child and Youth Welfare Code Family Code Domestic Adoption Law Inter-country Adoption Law HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1800’s charitable institutions provided shelter and care for abandoned and destitute children 1917 first government orphanage was established HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1921 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 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1950s New Civil Code (RA 386) and Revised Administrative Code Only childless couples, including resident aliens may adopt Adoption was directly handled by the courts HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 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 process HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1970s 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 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1970s 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 1980s 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 1986 • • • • • 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 adopt; 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 (PIAU); 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.” PRESENT CONTEXT 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 Philippines. The law upholds the previous policy that inter-country adoption is the last resort to provide a permanent home to a child. 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 Committee Challenges 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 interests. The standards of adoption services must be beyond question as agencies qualify for accreditation by the Central Authorities and competent bodies.