It has been sixty (60) years since adoption was made an option for many families in Jamaica. To Commemorate this milestone, the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) has been recognising the achievements of the programme with a week of activities from Sunday, November 4th to Saturday, November 10th, themed, “Adoption: Building Families, Changing Lives.
CPFSA’s Adoption Coordinator, Maxine Bagalue said that the observance is intended to highlight the accomplishments and increase awareness of the adoption programnme, as well as minimising the stigma that is associated.
The week of activities commences with a church service on Sunday (Nov. 4) at the Stella Maris Catholic Church, located at 62 Shortwood Road in Kingston, starting at 11:00 a.m. A luncheon will also be held at the church hall following the service.
On Thursday (Nov. 8), a panel discussion will be held at the University of Technology, Lecture Theatre 50, dubbed “The Adoption Option for Children in Jamaica”. This event starts at 6:00 p.m., and is aimed at generating discussions on the long term effects of children, from a medical and psychosocial perspective.
Several media activities will also be on-going throughout the week, to heighten awareness of the programme and engage the public in discussions on adoption.
Commenting on adoption in Jamaica, she said that the Adoption Board is the only body that has responsibility for assessing adoption applications, while the CPFSA provides administrative support in processing the applications.
She said that concerted efforts have been made to address the service delivery of the adoption programme which has created a positive shift in the dynamics of the overall process.
“Since the policy was revised in 2016, the process has been simplified to a large extent and 406 children have been successfully placed with adoptive families. We have since put in place an established unit to clear the back log of cases. Also we have introduced a new application form and created a functional database for matching of children with applicants to ensure fairness and transparency to the process,” the Adoption Coordinator said.
What you need to know about adoption in Jamaica:
What is Adoption?
It is the process by which a child’s biological parental rights are transferred to the adopted parents. It especially gives orphans, children in State care and others in the wider society the opportunity to be nurtured in a caring and loving family environment.
The Adoption process
The adoption procedures in Jamaica are carried out in two (2) stages:
- Application for an Adoption Order – that is the completion of an adoption in Jamaica.
- Application for a Licence – approval is given by the Court for the child to be released to citizens of scheduled countries to be adopted abroad.
To be adopted, a child must
- Be over 6 weeks and under 18 years old.
- Applications must be received at least eight (8) months before a child attains their eighteenth (18th) birthday. Overseas applicants are to check with their immigration department for their age limit.
Consent and the Court:
- If you are applying with your spouse to adopt your biological child, (who is not the child of your spouse), you will need to satisfy the Court that;
- The other biological parent has died; or
- The other biological parent cannot be found; or
- The other biological parent is unfairly withholding consent
- You do not need to ask the Court to dispense with consent of a biological parent (s) or guardian (s) if;
- The child’s parent or guardian has consented to the making of the adoption application; or
- The child was placed with you for adoption by the Adoption Board with the consent of each parent/guardian, and no parent/guardian opposes the making of the application; or
- If the child’s parent (s) does not exercise parental responsibility for the child
Who can adopt?
- Applicants who are 25 years old and over. If they are related to the child being adopted they can be under 25 years old but over 18 years. However applicant would be approved based on age of child being adopted, medical conditions of applicant and family support available for child being adopted.
- Single female (There are exceptional circumstances).
For more information on adoption, persons can contact the Adoption Unit at 922-1751 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Application forms and guide can be downloaded from CPFSA’s website at www.childprotection.gov.jm.
Contact: Miss Rochelle Dixon
Public Relations and Communications Manager
Tele: 876- 967-5905 or 876-469-4100