Arroyo files bill seeking to create child adoption authority
In a bid to speed up adoption, former president now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo proposed a bill to address the problem of “overaged children” who are deemed unfit for adoption by unifying all adoption laws and creating a child care authority.
In a statement Thursday, Arroyo said her House Bill 5090 or the Act Codifying the Alternative Child Care Laws of the Philippines seeks to put all existing laws on abandoned children under one law to simplify further the process of adoption.
“This bill seeks to address this problem by creating a ‘one-stop-shop code’ whereby those who seek to adopt and/or foster care will be easily facilitated to the best interest of every child available for adoption and/or foster care,” Arroyo said.
Arroyo said her bill seeks to solve the “worsening problem of ‘unadoptable’ and overage children ‘not fit for adoption’” who suffer the “long and complicated process of domestic and inter-country adoption.”
Arroyo’s bill seeks to create a National Child Care Authority (NCCA), which would facilitate the adoption process as the sole authority to accept, evaluate and decide all applications for local and inter-country adoption.
The NCCA is mandated to implement the Alternative Child Care Code, which “will not only improve and speed up the process of adoption, foster care and guardianship but will also increase its fiscal capacity thereby improving its services offered to stakeholders,” Arroyo said.
The NCCA would be headed by an Executive Director and would have two divisions — the Domestic Child Care Division and Inter-Country Child Care Division.
Both divisions are mandated to create a database of all children for adoption as well as adoptive parents.
The divisions would have a Child Placement Committee, which would evaluate all applications for adoption. The committee would be composed of a child psychiatrist, a doctor, a lawyer, a registered social worker and a member of a non-government organization involved in alternative child care.
According to the bill, all certificates of adoption would be awarded to the adoptive parents within 30 days after the fulfillment of all requirements — a case study by a social worker, publication, and supervised trial custody.
The bill also considers adoption proceedings strictly confidential.
Arroyo seeks in her bill to increase the age of children available for inter-country adoption to below 18 years of age from the present below 15 years of age.
Her bill would also decriminalize simulated births as long as it was made for the best interest of the child, and that the child was treated well by the person who took him or her in.
The bill would also make foster care a mandatory program of the Department of Social Work and Development in order to protect the welfare of abandoned children.
Arroyo’s bill also includes penalties against those who would commit any misrepresentation in the adoption proceedings as well as subjecting the adoptive child to danger, abuse or exploitation.
“It is the policy of the State that every child remains under the care and custody of his/her parents and be provided with love, care, understanding and security towards the full and harmonious development of his/her personality. Only when such efforts prove insufficient and no appropriate placement or adoption within the child’s extended family is available, shall adopted by an unrelated person be considered,” Arroyo said. Celine Amilhamja, INQUIRER.net trainee/JE
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