November 10, 2011 1:11 am TWN, The China Post news staff
The China Post news staff–The Legislature is expected to pass a law tomorrow to impose stricter regulations on child adoption, a newspaper reported yesterday.
The proposed revisions to the child welfare law address concerns over buying and possible human trafficking arising from Taiwan’s lax regulations, the United Evening News reported.
Currently, adoption can be processed in two ways: one through government-approved organizations and the other through the courts.
It is the court process that has been problematic, the paper said. Any parties can work out a deal for “selling” a child in the form of adoption and then seek the court’s approval without needing to conduct any assessments.
If the proposed changes are implemented, the adoption of children can only be handled by government-approved organizations, unless the children are adopted by their relatives, the paper said.
According to the proposal, organizations will have to conduct family visits and assessments after receiving adoption applications.
Taiwan citizens will have the priority to adopt children over foreigners.
The government will also have to set out clear fees for handling adoptions, including the costs of assessments and paper translations services.
Any person found to be illegally arranging adoptions could be fined a maximum of NT$300,000.
Currently, there are go-betweens who arrange adoptions. They may charge as much as NT$300,000 for each case, the paper said.
Child welfare groups lauded the proposed changes, which are expected to pass their third reading at the Legislature tomorrow, according to the newspaper.
They said children will be given more protection and stand much better chances of being adopted by good parents. The selling of children and unsupervised adoptions will be rooted out, they said.
The changes may deter some families from adopting children because they may think it too tedious to go through the strictly monitored process, the welfare groups said.
But it is the right direction in the long run, and conforms to the international trend, the welfare groups were cited as saying.
The paper said the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) supports the proposed changes that will make the adoption process more transparent, as U.S. citizens have adopted many children from Taiwan.
Last year, almost 400 children from Taiwan found their adopted families in other countries, and 285 of them were adopted by U.S. parents, the paper said.