The Malta Independent 22 July 2019, Monday

The child’s best interests are main priority - National Adoption Strategy Children launched

Giulia Magri Monday, 24 June 2019, 11:43 Last update: about 28 days ago

25 measures implemented regarding local adoptions, post-adoption services and professionals who work in the family sector

The child’s best interest has, and will continue to be our first priority and the National Adoption Strategy will be the vital step between the initial adoption process and the child’s new life with their adoptive family, Minister for Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity Michael Falzon said on Monday.

He was presiding over the launch of the National Adoption Strategy for Children and their Families, a strategy which will see the implementation of 25 measures in various sectors, such as local adoptions, post- adoption services, the new reality of children searching their origin and development of the professionals in this field. 

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Falzon added that the goal was for the Bill’s second and third reading to be completed before Parliament breaks off for summer, with the law coming into effect later on this year.

“The topic of adoption is an extremely controversial topic, and brings about many heated debates as it is not easy to discuss complex and personal issues dealing with people,” said Falzon. He explained that developing laws and strategies which involve decisions on people’s lives brings about many sensitive discussions.

He said that the three main countries Malta looks at when it comes to adoptions are Slovakia, Portugal and India. He added that he hopes this strategy will increase local adoptions, and that the adoption process will be transparent and just for the children and adoptive families.

He added that the financial cost of adoption can add up to €10,000.

 

Children’s time in foster care to decrease

“The process will also decrease children’s time in foster care, decrease the adoption age from 10 to five years, and in exceptional cases the adoptions authority could also authorise adoption of a foster child before the lapse of five years”, said Falzon.

He stressed that the new strategy will keep the interest of the child as the main priority.

 

Social Care Standards Authority

Matthew Vella, CEO of Social Care Standards Authority highlighted that the strategy is based on three pillars which highlight the safeguarding of the wellbeing of the child.

The strategy also speaks of training of professionals in the sector, the integration of the required systems and procedures to simplify the adoption process and the establishment of  a new Social Regulatory Standards aimed at adoption.

He mentioned that two new committees would be set up next week which would work on the implementation of the strategy and its 25 measures.

“An important element of this new strategy is that we respect the procedures to the ‘search of origin’ aspect of adoptions, when adopted children begin to ask where they come from. We will be adding necessary procedures on how to address this,” said Vella.

 

Photos: Eva Krins

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