In Ghana, the Central Adoption Authority (CAA) at the Department of Social Welfare is mandated to oversee all adoptions.
The Authority, set up under the Children’s (Amendment) Act, 2016 (Act 937), has three primary structures: The Adoption Board, Technical Committee, and the Adoption Secretariat. The Board recommends policies and programmes, and the technical committee made up of professionals, reviews and decides on adoption applications from home and abroad.
If approved, a clearance letter is issued to the applicant to proceed to court for a legal adoption order to process the adoption.
Ghana to follow International standards in Adoption
According to the Central Adoption Authority Director, Mr. Stephen Tikai Dombo, adoption processes in Ghana follow international standards.
He said, “initially, adoptions were done at the regional level, but now it is only done at the high court.”
“Any adoption process that does not end up at the High Court could not be recognized as an adoption, emphasizing that sometimes people think because they provided support for a particular child, they had adopted the child but this is not so”, Mr. Tikai noted.
There are three categories of children that are placed for adoption namely; orphan children, abandoned child and the child that is relinquished by the parents to the state, which is represented by the Department of the Social Welfare at the Regional level.
Under the Children’s (Amendment) Act, 2016, (Act 93), the role of the DSW is to receive adoption applications, conduct Home Study on prospective adoptive parents, and submit a Home Study Report together with the complete application to the Central Adoption Authority. Under the MoGCSP by the same Act in 2016, the Government set up the Central Adoption Authority to provide for the conduct of all adoptions in the country and ensure better protection for children deprived of parental care.
Adopted children are to be treated as any other child in the family. They are to be loved, cared for and provided for. Any child that is adopted, the law mandates the new parents to disclose to the child that he/she was adopted before neighbours do so. The law says 13 years and above but the adopted parent must also consider if telling the child he/she is adopted will be in the best interest of the child. Adoption is a process and in that case, patience is required to go through the process.
The CAA is also expected to comply with the requirements of the 1993 Hague Convention, which requires that adoption takes place in the best interest of the child and with respect for their foundation rights.
There are two types of adoption; In-Country and inter country adoption.
This is further broken down into, relative adoption, where the applicant and child have filiation through blood, adoption, or marriage, and non-relative adoption, where the applicant and child have no filiation.Adoption Regulation
Delay in adoption is mainly with Child preference
The Director of the Central Adoption Authority indicated in a recent interview that adoption is easier now than before when the applicant has all the required information.
“What causes a delay is the child preference of the applicant. Sometimes their preferred choice is not readily available, so they wait. Many applicants prefer females to males, and almost all applicants do not want children with disabilities.”
He said about 50 children are adopted a year (both inter-country and intra-country) and urged the public to patronize the service because “the orphanages are not the best place to raise children. Children are better raised in families.”
Meanwhile , according to the Adoption regulation, adoption is considered a last resort.
Adoption is a socio-legal procedure that transfers a child’s parental responsibilities to the adoptive parents. An adoption cannot be reversed once the adoption order has been granted, except in rare circumstances.
Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation
The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) went into effect in Ghana on January 1, 2017. After reviewing Ghana’s implementing legislation and meeting with the Central Authority in Ghana, the U.S Department of State determined that the United States could partner with Ghana as a Convention country and begin processing Hague adoptions. As of March 3, 2017, the organization accept:
- Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country from prospective adoptive parents wishing to adopt a child who is habitually resident in Ghana, and
- Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative for a child who is habitually resident in Ghana (with Form I-800A approval notice).
Adoption agencies in Ghana
Hopscotch’s Ghanaian child adoption program has helped many children into families since September 2008.
Since the program’s pilot launch, approximately 41 families have completed or are completing the adoption of their children, and 51 children have come home to their forever families.
A Family in Bloom Adoption has been involved with adoptions in Ghana prior to the country joining the Hague Convention for Intercountry Adoption in January 2017.
Visit http://www.mogcsp.gov.gh/ for more details.
- CONTACT INFORMATION
Central Adoption Authority
Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection
Post Office Box MB 186
Ministries, Accra, Ghana
Tel: +233 30 2949451/302949447 (Call Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 5pm)
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