Thursday, February 10, 2011

Legislative Update #3

“DOMESTIC FIRST” -- Promoting Domestic Adoption Within Taiwan: Policy and Legislative Changes

As has been summarized and reported earlier, revised child welfare legislation is currently under consideration by the government of Taiwan. One significant policy change/guideline for US families planning to adopt from Taiwan is the policy of “domestic adoption first” – placing a priority on considering domestic families first for children, before considering international adoption. Acknowledging that it is not possible for all children to remain in their country of birth, best practices in child welfare support sound intercountry as well as domestic adoption polices so that orphaned children can be placed with loving, permanent families—either in their country of birth or through intercountry adoption.

Procedures for implementing the “domestic first” policy are under consideration by the Taiwanese legislature and include the use of a domestic database as well as other procedures to ensure that children are able to be considered first by Taiwanese families residing in Taiwan. It is expected that children will be available for domestic adoption for a period of approximately six months before being available for international adoption. In cases where children are harder to place, e.g., children who have, or are at risk for, medical conditions or developmental delays, earlier consideration for intercountry adoption may be possible. As of this time the effective date of the various provisions of the new child welfare laws are unknown.

Based on these considerations, Gladney anticipates that the youngest children matched and referred to US families will be six to seven months of age and older at referral. As the Taiwan court process generally takes approximately 8 months to complete, it is reasonable to assume that the youngest children coming home from Taiwan with their US families will be approximately 14 months in age.

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