Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption
There are many international conventions established by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, but in adoption circles the term “Hague Convention” is used to mean the “Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, 1993”. It is an international agreement that establishes standards and procedures to safeguard children involved in intercountry adoptions and to protect the interests of their birth and adoptive parents, by carrying out adoptions in a clear and ethical manner. New Zealand has acceded to this Convention. ICANZ works under this Convention.
Meetings are held to discuss the operation of the Convention. The ICANZ Director has attended these meetings to represent APIAF (Asia Pacific International Adoption Forum)
The Hague Convention recognises the principles that
- Every child has the right to a permanent family, and where it is not possible for the child to remain with birth family or a local adoptive family, intercountry adoption might be appropriate;
- Adoption of children between countries should take place via agreed-upon procedures that are ethical, orderly, streamlined and protect the best interests of the child.
The Hague Convention’s main goals are to
- Establish agreed ethical standards that safeguard the best interests of children who may be adopted;
- Make it easier for countries to cooperate, thus preventing trafficking of children;
- Enable countries to trust the integrity of other countries adoptions as they follow standardised procedures and ethical standards, therefore to recognise adoptions carried out by the other countries.
This is put into practice by
- Establishment of a Central Authority (CA) to oversee the adoption process in each country. In New Zealand this is the Ministry of Social Development’s Department of Child, Youth and Family (CYF);
- Accreditation of any non-government organisation that wishes to work in adoption services. To be accredited, providers must pursue non-profit objectives, be staffed by trained and ethical persons, and supervised by the Central Authority. In NZ the standards that an accredited agency must meet include standards about organisation, management, finances, staff, monitoring, reporting, and the best interests of the child;
- Organisations can be accredited to carry out either the approvals (home studies) or the placement and post-placement steps. ICANZ is an accredited agency in NZ for placement and post-placement steps in the adoption;
- Standardization of intercountry adoption procedures. An adoption may take place only if:
- the country of origin has
- established that the child is adoptable,
- given due consideration to the child’s adoption in its country of origin,
- determined that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interest,
- been satisfied that after counselling, the necessary consents to the adoption have been given freely, with no financial inducements,
- given due (age appropriate) consideration to the child’s wishes.
- the receiving country (ie NZ) has
- determined that the prospective adoptive parents are eligible and suited to adopt,
- provided pre-adoption training and counseling,
- authorised the child to enter and reside permanently in that country.
- the country of origin has
For further, more detailed information on this convention, visit the Hague Conference on Private International Law website