Children’s Authority holds adoption sensitisation session: families express hope
Persons wishing to adopt children in Trinidad and Tobago will find the process less complicated and time consuming. This was the assurance given to over 100 persons who attended a sensitisation session hosted by the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago on Friday 12th June, 2015 on the New Adoption Process.
Over three weeks ago three key pieces of legislation including the Adoption of Children Act, 2000 were proclaimed to allow the Authority to better respond to the needs of children. In the future one of the functions of the Children’s Authority will be the management of the Adoption process.
The session was designed for families who had already been pre-approved by the former Adoption Board. Stephanie Daly, S.C. Chairman of the Board of Management of the Authority said the new legislation stripped away the bureaucracy and restrictions which saw persons waiting years after approval, to extend their family.
Mrs. Daly explained that the new process was more child-friendly, as the views of children, where possible and appropriate, would be taken into consideration. She noted that more children would be made available for adoption through a court order at an early stage of the process, and that there had been a removal of many of the restrictions on who could apply to adopt, although there would still be careful assessment of the suitability of applicants.
Sharifa Ali-Abdullah, Director and CEO of the Authority said there are about 20 children who are currently available for adoption. She explained that once children who are eligible for adoption are brought to the Authority’s attention, the process will begin, so as to provide them with the most stable and nurturing family environment. Mrs. Ali-Abdullah stated that it was important for society to be aware that adoption is a preferred placement option. She added that the Authority will invest in technology to expedite the adoption process, as well as rely on the recommendations of social workers and psychologists to place children with the family that is best able to meet their assessed needs.
At the sensitisation session, prospective adopters were able to have their concerns and questions addressed by a panel of experts in family law, social work, adoption and the new legislation.
Many couples who had been waiting for over four years to adopt, expressed confidence that the Authority will make their dream a reality. They noted that through the informative session presented by the Authority, they are once again looking forward to providing a loving home to a child.
One couple appealed to those in attendance to consider opening their hearts and homes to older children. It was stated that many people are hoping to adopt a baby but each child has the right to a family.
Also taking place recently was the handover of documents from the Adoption Board of the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development to the Adoption Unit of the Authority. Mrs. Ali-Abdullah described the transition as seamless and thanked officials of the Ministry for their support during the exercise.
The Authority will conduct another sensitisation session for the approved adopters who were unable to attend the first session. Plans are also underway to meet with new applicants.