With immediate effect, prospective adoptive parents will be required to undergo a mandatory 30-hour training before matching and placement of an adoptive child could be done.
The training is designed to provide prospective adoptive parents with the needed basic knowledge and skills to fulfill their roles and responsibilities.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP), Lariba Zuweira Abudu, announced this in Accra yesterday at the launch of the first-ever adoption training manual for the country.
Adoption is the legal process that permanently transfers all legal rights and responsibilities of being a parent from the child’s birth parents to the adoptive parents. It is the legal process by which a person (child) becomes a lawful member of a family different from their birth family.
Once a final order of adoption has been ruled by a court of law, the adoptive parents gain the same rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them. Subsequently, an adopted child gains the same rights as birth children concerning inheritance, child support, and other legal matters.
The manual will, among others, regulate the adoption process and also serve as a tool for the training required by prospective adoptive parents before the adoption order is granted.
It provides the needed materials for the Central Adoption Authority (CAA), the Department of Social Welfare, and Adoption Agencies to conduct training for persons whose applications have been approved by the Adoption Technical Committee.
Regulation 37 of the Adoption Regulations, 2018 (LI 2360), stipulates that training shall be organized for applicants in accordance with the Training Manual before placement is done. The training shall be organized for in-country adoption applicants and, where applicable, for groups of applicants or individual applicants.
And certificates shall be issued to prospective adoptive parents who complete the training.
The minister said: “This is a child you agreed to adopt, who needs love, who needs a parent and from someone else’s family. So you need to know about them. We do the training to let you know all about the child. After that, if you accept, we will go ahead with the process,” explained Ms Abudu.
She said regional officers of the Department of Social Welfare under the local government service would be given training for trainers on the Adoption Manual so they could train prospective adoptive parents upon receipt of an adoption application form.
Ms. Abudu said efforts to reform the adoption process in the country began in 2010 when a technical working group started drafting guidelines for in-country and inter-country adoptions, followed by multiple regional meetings from 2010 to 2012 with various stakeholders to fine-tune the text.
The Head of the Central Adoption Authority of the Department of Social Welfare, Stephen Tikai Dombo, said adoptive children were special from biological children, hence, prospective adoptive parents needed to be properly equipped with skills to be able to handle the child.
A Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF, Young Joo Lee, commended the country for the manual.
The Director of the Social Welfare Department, Rev. Dr. Comfort Asare, cautioned the public against exchanging children for money, explaining that such practices were illegal and punishable by law.