ADOPTION POLICY FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT 26- OCTOBER 2010

ADOPTION POLICY FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT 26- OCTOBER 2010 PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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ADOPTION POLICY FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT 26- OCTOBER 2010

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1. 1 ADOPTION POLICY FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT 26- OCTOBER 2010

2. 2 OVERVIEW OF THE PRESENTATION Purpose Process of developing the strategy Problem statement Methodology Policy context Current adoption practice Situational Analysis Patterns of adoption Characteristics of children adopted Types of alternative care and characteristics New opportunities Strategic perspective Vision Objectives and strategic actions Barriers to adoptions Monitoring and evaluation Policy Recommendations Costing Recommendations Action Plan

3. 3 Contents of the Policy Framework and Strategy for Adoption Foreword By Minister Acknowledgements Executive Summary Chapter 1: Background history of adoptions in South Africa Chapter 2: Policy context Chapter 3: Situational Analysis Chapter 4: Strategic Perspective Chapter 5: Barriers to adoptions Chapter 6: Monitoring and evaluation Chapter 7: Policy Recommendations Chapter 8: Costing Chapter 9: Conclusions and Recommendations Chapter 10: Action Plan Annexures

4. 4 Purpose To provide feedback on the progress made in relation to the development of the adoption policy framework and strategy To request approval of the adoption policy framework and strategy

5. 5 PROBLEM STATEMENT Adoption as a placement option has been widely under-utilised in SA, due to the following : - Most children are being placed in foster care which is a temporary placement rather than being permanently placed in adoption. - There are barriers preventing people from adopting children such as socio – cultural obstacles, service provider obstacles children - There is lack of financial support towards the adoptive families & adopted children, especially those with special needs

6. 6 METHODOLODY The policy framework and strategy consists of the document and literature review which is aimed at understanding the various frameworks, mechanisms and contexts that could facilitate/ inhibit the uptake of adoption in SA, as well as the strategies that could be implemented to increase the number of prospective adoptive parents and children. Analysis of secondary data from the national Adoptions Register was further reviewed to establish the levels and trends of adoption, as well as to compile a brief socio-demographic profile of adoptive parents and adopted children The policy framework and strategy incorporates the findings and recommendations of the research undertaken by the Human Science Research Council.

7. 7 Policy context Legislation Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996) The Children’s Act 38 0f 2005 White Paper for Social Welfare, 1997 National Policy Framework and Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Management of Child Abuse, Neglect & Exploitation Global and Regional commitments United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 African Common Position on Children: Africa Fit for Children, 2001 The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of inter-country Adoption, 1993 The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, 1990

8. 8 SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS The estimated number of children under the age of 18 years is 18.8 million in 2007, younger children in the 0-4 years age group comprises almost (28%) of the child population (The Presidency, 2009). The estimated number of adoptable children can be gleaned from recent statistics of children in foster care as well as those deprived of parental care, including orphans, children living in child-headed households and children in residential care as shown in below: Street children are also another category of children often deprived of parental care. However, due to their unpredictable lifestyle, it is often difficult to collect reliable data on them, and to determine their precise number (Mufune, 2000; Volpi, 2003). As a result, the research on these children in recent years, estimates from the 1990s, and indicated that there were between 9,000 and 10,000 street children in SA. Although the statistics shows the number of children that are in need of parental care and might be available for adoption, the data is not sufficient to accurately estimate the number of adoptable children in South Africa.

9. 9 Estimated number of adoptable children

10. 10 Number of children adopted

11. 11 Patterns of adoption National adoptions by cross-cultural information National Adoption Register shows that the majority of national adoptions in the recent years took place within the same culture/ same racial group With intercountry adoption, this pattern may be a reflection of the Department’s policy that prioritises adoption of children within their own communities/country of origin. There are no legal barriers to trans-racial / cross-cultural adoptions in SA in terms of the Child Care Act. National adoptions by family type Data from the Adoption Register shows that in recent years the most popular type of adoption was step adoption; followed by foster adoption that had a particular peak in 2007; family adoption has remained steady, while biological adoption has been the least popular. National adoptions In terms of the characteristics of adoptive parents, it is noted that single adoptive parents were the highest as compared to married couples to adopt children from 2004 till 2007. However the trend seemed to have been reversed from 2008 till 2009

12. 12 National adoptions by cross-cultural information

13. 13 Characteristics of children adopted Previous research has revealed that the uptake of adoption can be influenced by several individual characteristics of prospective adoptees, including demographic variables such as age, race and gender . Age It has generally been found that the likelihood of being adopted decreases with age, with possible explanations for this being case workers’ concerns over the safety of young people, and older children being less attractive to potential adoptive families due to their well-documented increased risk of placement disruption after adoption. Additionally, the cost of adoption becomes a major concern when families consider adoption of older children, because adolescents generally have expensive desires and needs This is evident in South Africa where the study revealed that the overwhelming majority of prospective adoptive parents prefer babies. Gender With regard to gender, a number of studies from Western countries have noted a strong preference towards adopting girls. Several theories attempt to explain this notion, that girls may be easier to raise because they are less aggressive and more submissive In the case of intercountry adoptions, girls may be able to assimilate into the receiving society more easily than their male counterparts Study reveals that South Africans do not seem to have a clear gender preference with regard to adoptable children .The overall experience in South Africa is that gender is not usually the deciding factor; as long as the baby is healthy the adoptive parents are often satisfied.

14. 14 Characteristics of children adopted cont Race In SA, African, Indian and Coloured children are less likely to be adopted than White children, even though, the large majority of children who are orphaned, abandoned, and in alternative care are Africans. A relatively low levels of adoption among Indians may reflect the fact that, with the very close circle of family bonding and boundaries, Indians would find adoption very challenging because, by its nature, it introduces someone from outside the family. White South Africans may be more comfortable adopting trans-racially. The racial pattern is reversed when data for inter-country adoptions are analysed, majority of African children made up the bulk of inter-country adoptions in the recent years, with Coloured, White and Indian children following in that order. Inter-country adopters will almost have a limited choice in terms of the race of their prospective adoptive child.

15. 15 Biological adoption: Adoption of a child by his biological father who was not married to the child’s mother when the child was born; Family adoption: Adoption of a child by relatives, e.g. uncle, aunt, grand-parent etc; Foster adoption: Adoption of a child by a foster parent, a person who legally fostered the child; and Step adoption: Adoption of a step child by a step-parent National adoptions by family type

16. 16 National adoptions by Family Type

17. 17 Legitimacy Abandoned (children who are given up by their parents and whose parents cannot be traced, e.g. children who are left at hospitals and streets by their parent); Children born out of wedlock, born of unmarried parents, and Children born within marriage. It also covers children whose parents have separated or divorced, as long the child was born within marriage

18. 18 National Adoptions by legitimacy

19. 19 Patterns of adoption Using the available information in the National Adoptions Register, this section shows the various patterns of adoption in South Africa. Inter-country adoptions Inter-country adoptions have almost doubled in the last 10 years, driven by changes in fertility and other demand and supply factors Many African countries have shown little interest in inter-country adoptions and the Hague Convention in particular, because of the burden of supervision, administrative control and the wide range of services that countries of origin need to provide to ensure successful placement SA is one of the few African countries that have acceded to the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption in (acceeded 1December 2003) National adoptions are prioritised over inter -country adoptions. The Adoption Register shows a steady but very small increase in inter-country adoptions and the overwhelmingly large proportion of national adoptions.

20. 20 Racial breakdown of inter-country adoptions

21. 21 Inter country adoptions by receipt countries

22. 22 WHO ADOPTS

23. 23 Racial breakdown of national adoptions

24. 24 Types of alternative care and characteristics

25. 25 BARRIERS TO ADOPTION Types of barriers identified Service provider obstacles - Legal and judicial systems - Resource allocation obstacle - Knowledge-based obstacles - Socio-cultural obstacles

26. 26 Strategic perspective Vision The provision of a stable and permanent home for children requiring alternative care

27. 27 New opportunities brought

28. 28 OBJECTIVES OF THE STRATEGY AND STRATEGIC ACTIONS The over-all objective of an adoption strategy for South Africa is to promote adoption as the preferred form of permanent placement of children. This could be achieved by – (a) taking the opportunities presented by the new legal framework to popularize adoption. (b) minimising impediments to adoption through providing adequate technical and human resources to support adoption services and to enable effective service delivery in adoption; (c) improving resource allocation (d) improving the knowledgebase of communities and service providers on adoption (e) improving the understanding socio-cultural beliefs and practises of adoption

29. 29 OBJECTIVES OF THE STRATEGY AND STRATEGIC ACTIONS Objective 1: Taking the opportunities presented by the new legal framework to popularize, adoption services Register on Adoptable Children and Prospective Adoptive Parents (RACAP) Post-adoption agreements Promoting Open Adoptions Freeing orders Family reunification and permanency planning Termination of parental responsibilities and rights Defining adoptable children Identification of adoptable children in alternative care

30. 30 OBJECTIVES OF THE STRATEGY AND STRATEGIC ACTIONS (cont’d) Objective2: Minimising impediments to adoption through providing adequate technical and human resources to support adoption services and to enable effective service delivery in adoption This includes both intra-organisational, inter-system and personal obstacles in direct service provider organisations such as child welfare and the legal system. Providing adequate technical and human resources to support adoption services and to enable effective service delivery in adoption. Building capacity of adoption service providers and stakeholders to improve adoption systems and processes as there is lack of consistency and uniformity in the interpretation and implementation of key child care legislation by different stakeholders in particular adoption service providers and magistrates

31. 31 OBJECTIVES OF THE STRATEGY AND STRATEGIC ACTIONS (cont’d) Objective 3: Improving resource allocation This relates to the common and chronic lack of specialised services to address the special needs of adopted children and their families, Insufficient resources in many communities to finance their programme development, or to sustain them over time.

32. 32 OBJECTIVES OF THE STRATEGY AND STRATEGIC ACTIONS (cont’d) Objective 4: Improving the knowledge base of communities and service providers on adoption services: Widespread lack of knowledge and understanding regarding the unique dynamics of adoption, the typical issues confronting adopted children and their families, the risk factors that undermine adoption, and the factors that stabilise, strengthen, and preserve adoptive families. Raising awareness, promotion and marketing of adoption as the preferred option: This includes appropriate outreach, marketing, public relations and community programmes to make information on adoption readily available. Shortage of prospective adoptive parents, especially from the African community Adoption as a form of permanent alternative care has not received widespread promotion. Recruitment of prospective adoptive parents is currently carried out in an ad hoc manner and its reach is limited by lack of financial support.

33. 33 OBJECTIVES OF THE STRATEGY AND STRATEGIC ACTIONS (cont’d) Objective 5: Improving the understanding socio- cultural beliefs and practices of adoption: This focuses on traditional belief systems and cultural understandings of the permanency of various care practices.

34. 34 POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS Adoption Grant: It is noted from the research that people are in favour of an adoption grant in that this would enable more people to adopt and would help in alleviating the pressure that the foster care system is placing on the system. An adoption grant is more necessary in that previously prospective parents were screened on the basis of income to ensure that they had sufficient means to care for the child. Such screening is no longer allowed under the new Act. A government needs to have some way of ensuring that the needs of the child are met, and a grant would go some way towards doing this. A grant could also help in correcting the current skew in the race profile of prospective and actual adoptive parents (and children) in that it is black prospective parents who are more likely to be poor. The total cost of an adoption grant would be relatively small when compared to the costs of the child support and foster care grants given the much smaller numbers of children that would be covered even if an adoption strategy succeeds in increasing the adoption rate. Further, unless all the monitoring, renewal and after-care services that accompany foster care are made applicable for adopted children, the non-grant costs of the adoption grant would be less than that of the foster care grant. Thus, to the extent that currently fostered children are adopted, government will save money with an adoption grant.

35. 35 POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS (CONT) An adoption grant could be introduced without any serious concerns about affordability. This conclusion is reached on the assumption that the number of new adoptions would increase at a rate of 10% per year as a result both of the publicity and new efforts of the introduction of a “new” adoption strategy and the incentive of the adoption grant. The adoption grant can be utilised for children who are in long term foster care. The benefits for these children include a permanent family and improved legal status. Additionally there could be capacity and resource efficiencies as the state would not be required to review the placements as it is currently the practice in foster care. This action would impact on the present number of children in foster care. Foster care can continue to be utilised as an interim arrangement as was originally envisioned. A policy and strategy can be developed to manage the transition from foster care to adoption.  It is therefore, strongly recommended that adoption is promoted for children who are identified as adoptable who are in long term care. Consideration must be given to the utilisation of foster care as an interim placement.

36. 36 POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS (cont’d) Cultural sensitive adoption It is evident from the African cultural perspective, that consideration should be given to ‘Africanising’ the concept of adoption to be more culturally appropriate and relevant. Efforts need to be made to promote adoption based on the cultural beliefs of people. If through this process, the concept of adoption is developed into something which resonates more closely with cultural belief systems, it is likely the adoptive prospects of the most vulnerable group of children (those with no extended family who are placed indefinitely in institutional care) may improve. If through this process, the concept of adoption is developed into something which resonates more closely with cultural belief systems, it is likely the adoptive prospects of the most vulnerable group of children (those with no extended family who are placed indefinitely in institutional care) may improve. The beliefs expressed in the research suggest that outside of family networks it is strongly believed that children should be raised within their own country and their culture, even if they are not able to be raised by their kin. This perspective was most evident in the clear preference for national over inter country adoption. Consultation with traditional leaders to guide the development of a system where by African rituals and practices are incorporated; where culturally sensitive approaches to naming and renaming children; and cultural perspectives on how children come to belong are included would be strongly recommended to increase the adoptability of children within their own cultural systems.

37. 37 Financial costs Register on adoptable children and prospective adoptive parents (RACAP) The estimated total cost to complete the development of the RACAP is R729, 600.00; the amount will cover the following: 2 x Web Application Development service R350.00 for 4 months R448,000.00 Integration Specialist service @ R600.00 on consultation per day for 1 month = R192,000.00 Total excluding vat = R640,000.00 VAT = R89,600.00 TOTAL INCLUDING VAT = R729,600.00

38. 38 Financial Costs (cont) Communication strategy Yr1 Yr2 YR3 5 x Community dialogues R250, R350 , R400, Publication Material (posters, videos, pamphlets) R500, R550 R600 National launch Media Campaign R2m R2,5m R3,5m Capacity Building R400, R420, R450, Training manuals R350, R200, R200 Total R4M R4,92m R5,15m

39. 39 Costing (cont) 3. Provinces Resources 4 Social work posts (level 9) R10, 728. 360 Computers, Stationary and telephones R360, 000, 00 Telephones R86, 400, 00 Availability of office space (confidential) R15,172.360 (R168, 582 per province) Yr 1 GRAND TOTAL R37, 112, 36

40. 40 Costing (cont) Adoption grant Year 1 2 500 children per annum Adoption grant of 680 p.a. R20, 400, 000 Admin fee of R27, 00 p.a. 810, 000 Total adoption grant per annum = R 21 210, 000 Year 2 5000 children per annum Adoption grant of 680, 00 p.a. R40, 800, 000 Admin fee of R27, 00 p.a. 1,620, 000 Total adoption grant per annum R42, 420, 000 Year 3 7 500 children per annum Adoption grant of R 680 p.a. R 612 000,000 Admin fee of R27 p.a . 2,430,000 Total adoption grant per annum = R 614,430,000

41. 41 Action plan

42. 42 Action plan

43. 43 Recommendations It is recommended that: Portfolio Committee on Social Dvelopment takes cognizance of the content of the Policy Framework and Strategy to promote adoption in South Africa. Note the approved the strategic action plan and Note the cost implications

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