ACDP Member of Parliament, Cheryllyn Dudley commented recently on the government’s addition of last-minute amendments to the Children’s Act that threatens the entire process of adoption in South Africa.
Dudley says that, “The ACDP is disappointed at the last minute presentation at the end of the consultation process, of two damaging amendments to the Children’s Act that threaten the whole adoption process in South Africa.”
The amendments make any payment for national or inter-country adoptions illegal. This includes professional fees for social workers, psychologists and attorneys, donations and even the recouping of expenses.
“The ACDP is alarmed at the intended removal of subsection 3 of clause 250 where government wishes to prohibit the involvement of any professionals other than social workers in the complex adoption process. This includes attorneys, psychologists, therapists, trauma counsellors and medical practitioners.”
The majority of children placed in inter-country adoptions have special needs or are older and not likely to be adopted locally. Such adoptions are extremely technical and labour intensive because of the complexity of changing a child’s identity across international borders, and the need to prevent inducement, exploitation, sale and trafficking of children as well as improper financial gain through adoptions.
“We agree with the Minister that adoption is an essential part of the country’s child protection strategy. The department is however under-resourced and over-worked. If fees become illegal children in need will be further disadvantaged more vulnerable”, Dudley concluded.
“The ACDP calls on government to place the needs of the huge numbers of orphaned children in South Africa above their fears. Millions of Aids orphans among others are desperate for the security of a loving family and a home.”
The three amendments were added without consultation just prior to the publishing of the amendments in the Government Gazette in late October, and the adoption community was not told about the additions until the National Child Protection Forum meeting in late November 2018, just before the end of the public consultation process and as government was shortly to close for the Christmas holidays.
ISSUED BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
16 January 2019