This morning the Joint Council on International Children's Services issued the following announcement about newly proposed adoption legislation in the Guatemalan congress. Although this legislation hasn't passed, this is a good step in the right direction, and it's encouraging to adoption agencies and adoptive families. More importantly, it's good news for Guatemalan children in need of adoption.
Joint Council Update
Program: International Relations Initiative
Date: November 7, 2007
Regarding: Guatemala – New Legislation Introduced
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
As you know, Joint Council has continued to advocate for a rational and child centric transition to the Hague Convention in Guatemala. During our recent presentation with at the Adoption Ethics and Accountability Conference, we called for the completion of adoptions in-process, the implementation of the Conventions core elements, an effective implementation date of April 2008 and funding for capacity building. We have continued to work with our colleagues in Guatemala along with members of the Guatemalan Congress in developing a functional child welfare system.
We can now report that members of the Guatemalan Congress, including numerous party chiefs, have submitted a new legislative proposal which:
- includes a strong 'grandfather' clause,
- designates April 30 2008 as the effective implementation date of the Convention,
- allocates $5 million Quetzales ($650,000 USD) for the creation of the Central Authority,
- allocates a percentage of the total government budget for child welfare services,
- creates a new government entity to act as the Central Authority in Guatemala,
- provides for private non-profit accredited entities to provide services to children,
- allows single potential adoptive parents to apply for adoption,
- and creates a functional process by which children can find a permanent, safe and loving family
The new legislation is scheduled to be introduced to Congress early next week. In line with our mission of advocating for the right of each child to a permanent family, Joint Council will continue to work with our colleagues in Guatemala towards a positive and child centric implementation of the Convention.
Thomas J DiFilipo