Recent adoption reforms are producing results for children’s right to a family
The Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Mr Spiro Ristovski and the UNICEF Representative, Mr Sheldon Yett today visited one of the six workshops for Center for Social Work professionals on the new adoption procedures. During the visit, the Minister announced that the recent changes to the adoption procedures have started to yielded results, with twice as many children enjoying their right to a family compared to previous years.
“In less than seven months [since the change] 103 children have been adopted compared to 50-70 which was the annual average last year. The amendments have allowed us to reduce the time it takes to provide a family environment and a better life for children without parental care," said Mr. Spiro Ristovski, Minister of Labour and Social Policy.
While the reform in the adoption process is being led by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, UNICEF has provided technical support to ensure the principle of the best interest of the child and the child's needs are given priority in adoption decision making. Among the changes - for the first time in the country - the reform introduced an assessment of the needs of the child to ensure proper pairing of the adopters and the adoptees, based on the needs of the child and the profile of the adoptive parents.
“In the case of adoption, ‘the best interest of the child should always be the guiding principal in decision making. As such, UNICEF congratulates the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy for incorporating, for the first time in this country a formal and transparent child needs assessment. This new development promises to ensure the child's needs are given priority,” said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative.
Over the past two weeks, teams from all Centers for Social Work in the country are being trained by local and international experts. During these workshops, the staff are not only getting familiar with the changes introduced but are also learning about to better implement the assessment of the potential adoptive parents and the needs of the children without parents or parental care.
The training of Center for Social work professionals was organized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and Institute for Social Activities, with financial and technical support from UNICEF.
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