New Law Simplifies Adoption Process In The Philippines: Less Legal Fees, Hearings, And Waiting Timeby Dahl D. Bennett .
Did you know that hundreds of Filipino children are in need of adoptive families every year?
A statistical report published on the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) website shows that from 2009 to June 2021, there were a total of 8,258 Filipino children who have been declared legally available for adoption. That’s an average of 688 Filipino children who need new foster homes and families per year.
In that same time frame, only 2,788 children were placed for adoption or 232 children per year.
High cost and delays as hurdles in adoption
“That is a clear disparity of 5,470 children unadopted over the last 12 years. This does not include the children who are still waiting in children’s homes,” says Chrina Cuna-Henson, the managing director of ROHEI Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates for adoption and licensed Child Placement Agency by the DSWD.
'There are loving families who want to grow through adoption or foster care, but... hesitate to start their journeys because the full legal adoption process can feel intimidating and daunting.
These children seeking to be placed with an adoptive family are either surrendered, abandoned, neglected, facing socio cultural difficulties or have special needs.
While there are sufficient international and local laws in place that protect the rights of these children as well as help facilitate their adoption (i.e. RA 10165: Foster Care Act of 2012, Article VIII, Presidential Decree 603, The Child and Youth Welfare Code) the process can be long, winding, and litigious, not to mention costly.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
“In the past year, ROHEI Foundation did 200 consultations with potential adoptive and foster families. We realized that there are loving families who want to grow through adoption or foster care, but they hesitate to start their journeys because the full legal adoption process can feel intimidating and daunting,” says Cuna-Henson.
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Another hurdle in the adoption process are delays and the lack of personnel from the government who can oversee a unified body that specializes on facilitating adoptions, foster care, and alternative child care-related programs.
“One reason many adoption cases are delayed is that DSWD personnel face many challenges. Even with the help of Child-Placing Agencies that facilitate adoption and foster care placements, social workers find themselves handling multiple DSWD projects that require more personnel,” says Cuna-Henson.
New law simplifies adoption in the Philippines
The good news is that a new adoption law has been passed that allows for easier facilitation of adoption, foster care, and other forms of child care services.
On January 6, 2022, the Domestic Administrative Adoption and Alternative Child Care Act (RA 11642) was finally signed into law. Under this, the National Authority for Child Care (NACC) was created and is considered the one-stop agency that will provide post-adoption services, including adoption-telling before the adoptee reaches the age of 13, counseling sessions, and other resources that will ensure the family provides a safe and healthy environment for the child. Its mandate covers both domestic and intercountry adoptions.CONTINUE READING BELOWwatch now
NACC is formerly known as the Inter-Country Adoption Board or ICAB.
New adoption law means less legal fees, less court hearings, and shorter waiting period for the family.
As a licensed Child Placement Agency, ROHEI and other licensed agencies now have greater capacity to be involved in facilitating adoption, foster care, and other forms of child care services as indicated in the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for RA 11642.
Before the passage of this new law, ROHEI’s role is limited to clarifying the process for families, and encouraging them to set out on their adoption journey.
“In November last year, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) granted us a Child-Placing Agency license. It allows us to facilitate adoption and foster care placements,” explained Cuna-Henson.
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In ROHEI’s years of experience in dealing with adoptive families, they learned that legal fees can range from P100,000 to P500,000. In rare circumstances like in provincial cases, it could be below P100,000. “They also had to attend several court hearings to complete their adoption journeys,” says Cuna-Henson.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Under RA 11642, adoptive families will only have to spend for purely for administrative purposes as opposed to both administrative and judicial prior to its passage. Administrative fees usually cover expenses for obtaining documentary requirements and the fees of the agency they would be working with.
On top of this, waiting time will be shorter. As explained by Senator Risa Hontiveros during the Bill’s third Senate hearing, waiting time of adoptive parents will be from six to nine months. “Instead of years, the waiting time will now only be as long as a pregnancy of a mother,” she said.
Always go the legal route
The new adoption law spells a big difference for potential adoptive families as it simplifies the process of welcoming a new family member exponentially. And by involving foundations like ROHEI, these families now have ‘someone’ who can hold their hand’ in what can be an emotional and daunting process.
“We can now journey with families in the process itself,” says Cuna-Henson. “We hope that the new law encourages more families to open their hearts and homes to orphaned and abandoned children.”
For potential adoptive families, ROHEI notes the importance of adopting a child legally and according to law. As emphasized on their website, “Don’t compromise the integrity of your child’s adoption. Work with people that will advocate for you and accomplish the process as quickly as possible–legally.”
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