State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Alando Terrelonge, says the impending changes to the Adoption Act are being finalised for preparation of a Cabinet submission.
He said that the amendments will make the adoption process in Jamaica less tedious while protecting the welfare of children.
Discussions with relevant stakeholders
The State Minister, who was speaking at the Child Protection and Family Services Agency’s (CPFSA) budget planning and quarterly performance review retreat at the Riu Hotel in Ocho Rios, recently, said that discussions on the changes have been held with the relevant stakeholders.
“I can report that the lawyers from CPFSA have met with the lawyers from the Ministry. We also invited Jamaicans for Justice. We discussed changes to the legislation, and those changes are being finalised for the Cabinet submission to be prepared and sent off,” he said.
Terrelonge noted that among the key issues to be addressed is the right of a minor to consent to adoption and the most appropriate time frame to complete the adoption process.
“What if the [teen mother] wants the give the child up for adoption, but the parents don’t?”— Terrelonge
“When we consider teen moms, certainly, the law as is, says a teen cannot consent to giving a child up for adoption. So, one of the things we are considering is, what if the [teen mother] wants the give the child up for adoption, but the parents don’t? Should that child be able to consent? What if the minor wants to keep the baby and not give it up for adoption, but the parents want to? Can the parents force the child to give up the baby for adoption?” he said.
He noted that the ultimate aim of the government is to expedite the adoption process and prevent children from “languishing in State care for two years or three years for an adoption to take place. I don’t believe that is in the best interest of the child”.