The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s Adoption Board is making major headway by processing long-overdue adoption applications since its commissioning in October.
Minister Dr. Vindhya Persaud said placing or reintegrating children with their families in a safe environment is one of the Ministry’s top priority as it aims to lessen the number of children in institutions.
While the Board advances its work, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges as the preventative measures have hampered home evaluation visits. As such, the Ministry is trying to find innovative ways to ensure that children are monitored for abuse, and that timely reports are made.
“One of the avenues they have to report would be at school where they will be able to tell. So, we are working diligently to let them know that they can still tell someone so we will be coming up with creative ways to ensure that this is different,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Minister Persaud is urging potential adoptive parents to adopt older children.
“There is nothing wrong with adopting an older child as it will give them a good home because they are children who need love… we will walk through the process of adoption, once you qualify it and satisfy the criteria that we are looking for adoption,” she added.
Highlighting the Government’s agreement with the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention), Dr. Persaud said international adoption will be on hold until the Ministry’s legislation is aligned with the Convention.
“The legislation is up for the parliamentary agenda, which will be addressed at the next parliamentary sitting,” she added.
The Hague Adoption Convention addresses issues related to international adoption, child laundering, and child trafficking to protect children from corruption, abuse and exploitation, which sometimes accompany international adoption. According to the United Nations, child laundering refers to fraud in the adoption of children, the sale of children and falsification of documents relating to the adoptability of children which may lead to their exploitation.