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Subject Expert discussion on the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption held
Date 2011-11-18 Hit 7347
Contents

Ministry of Health and Welfare(Minister Rim, Chae Min) held an expert discussion on the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption at the Franciscan Education Center (located in Jungdong, Jungu, Seoul) at 14:00 on 18 Nov. 2011 (Fri.).

This discussion was held as a part of preparations for the nation to join the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption (hereinafter, referred to as “Hague Convention”) that secures the mutual recognition of adoptions between origin countries of adopted children and receiving countries for the safety and protection of children in international adoption.

- The discussion was attended by around 100 persons including those from related ministries (Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Supreme Court), experts, groups of international adoptees, adoption agencies and adoptive parents and they discussed how to improve the adoption system to join the Hague Convention.

 

The Hague Convention is an international convention developed and introduced by the Hague Conference on Private International Law in May 1993 as a need for an intercountry agreement was raised to ensure that intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of the children and with respect for his or her fundamental rights.

As of Nov. 2011, the convention has been signed by 85 countries in total including 9 countries that accept adoptions from Korea (US, Canada, France, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Norway, Australia, and Luxemburg) and Korea hasn’t signed the convention yet.   

The Hague Convention urges countries to actively intervene to ensure the legitimate implementation of the adoption procedures for children aged under 18 who need to find their home in countries other than their own countries of birth.

- Since adoptions under the Convention are mutually recognized by the Convention signatories, an adoption permit authorized in a child’s country of origin is automatically recognized and given effect in a receiving country.

In this regard, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended Korea to join the Hague Convention earlier in Jan. 2003 and the National Assembly passed a resolution calling for submission of the agreement on the ratification of the Hague Convention in Mar. 2011.

Professor Seok, Gwang Hyun (School of Law, Seoul National University) who made a presentation on “the joining of the Hague Convention and the revised Special Act on Adoption” spoke of the need to sign the Hague Convention and introduced measures to revise the Special Act on Adoption in preparation for the joining of the Convention.    

Professor Seok emphasized, “the Hague Convention is an international effort to enhance countries’ responsibility for internationally adopted children and it is essential to join the Convention for the protection of fundamental rights of children.”

- He also insisted, “we can’t delay signing the Convention any longer in order to protect adoptees’ fundamental rights,” highlighting that US, that receives the largest volume of adoptions from Korea*, recently joined the Hague Convention in 2008.

*As of end of Oct., 775 out of 1,013 international adoptions were made to US (76.5%)

 

- He also stressed the need to prepare and refine related laws to join the Convention such as legal grounds or procedures regarding adoptions to Korea from other countries.

 

Professor Roh, Choong Rae (Graduate School of Social Welfare, Ewha Woman’s University), whose presentation was titled, “the Challenge to Child Welfare in respect of the joining of the Hague Convention,” placed a emphasis on the principle of family protection for the best interests of children.   

He spoke of the need to realign international adoption systems as well as improve Korea’s overall child welfare such as reinforcing the support for single parent families to prevent children in need of protective care from being generated and the linkage between child and family welfare policies to keep families from falling apart in order to fulfill the principle of family protection.

- He also added that it is urgent to come up with measures to reduce the facility-based protection pointing out the reality that the facility-based protection accounts for a great portion of protective action for underprivileged children in need of protective care.

* Out of 8,590 children in need of protective care in 2010, 55.9% of them are under facility-based protection (4,842 children) while 44.1% are being protected under family care (3,748 children including foster care, child-headed family, adoption, etc)  

 

An official from Ministry of Health and Welfare said that, taking this discussion as an opportunity, consultations among related ministries will be continued and opinions and comments from experts and related personnel will be consistently collected and shared, based upon which, specific plans for signing the Hague Convention will be laid out. 

 

1. Summary of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption

2. Discussion Summary

3. Detailed Schedule

4. Summary and Status of Adoption Systems

5. Statistics regarding Children in Need of Protective Care

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption  

Summary of the Convention

Full title: * The Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption

Purpose

- to establish international standards for intercountry adoptions to protect rights of children relocated to different countries in adoption and to prevent the abduction, the sale, or traffic of children in the process of adoption

- to establish a system of cooperation amongst the Convention countries to guarantee a mutual recognition of adoptions between a sending country and a receiving country

 

*Due to a rise in international adoptions after 1960s, a need for a convention among countries for the protection of children was raised.

The Convention was adopted on 29 May 1993 and entered into force on 1 May 1995 (deferral, not allowed).

 

US, UK, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Australia, Luxemburg, China, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, and Philippines ,etc

- The Convention has been signed by 85 countries including US, and UK, etc (as of Nov. 2011). Korea hasn’t signed it.  

Why joining the Convention?  

Mutual recognition and authorization of adoption between a child’s country of origin and a receiving country is required for the protection and guarantee of rights of a child in intercountry adoption  

-Nine countries *that receive adoptions from Korea are all parties to the Convention. Therefore, Korea also needs to join the Convention to reinforce the protection of rights of internationally adopted children.

* US, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Australia, Canada, Luxemburg, and Italy

An international community and the National Assembly also call for the country to sign the Convention.

- UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended Korea to join the Hague Convention (Jan. 2003). 

-At the 298th session of the National Assembly, a resolution calling for submission of the agreement on the ratification of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption was passed, notifying that related legal action shall be taken (Mar. 2011).

Major details of the Convention

(subject) children aged under 18 whose permanent parent-child relationship will be created through intercountry adoption that requires a child’s movement from his/her country of origin to another country(a receiving country)

The principle of family protection for children in need of protective care is clearly stated

- Care under a family of origin → care under a family in a child’s country of origin (adoption, foster care, etc) → intercountry adoption

Conditions and procedures for intercountry adoption

(Request for adoption) to the central authority of a country where adoptive parents reside

(Investigation of adoptive parents) A report showing qualification and suitability of a requesting person for adoption (family history, medical history, social background, adoption capability, etc) is prepared and submitted (to the central authority in a receiving state) 

(Adoption decision) Adoption is determined upon identification check of a child, consent to the adoption and the report from the receiving state. (by the central authority in a child’s country of origin)  

(Movement) The child moves to the receiving country (accompanied by adoptive parents) and permission for immigration is granted

Intercountry adoption agencies

- A Contracting State shall designate a Central Authority to discharge the duties which are imposed by the Convention upon such authorities and may delegate some duties within a certain range to public agencies or accredited groups.

* The designation of the Central Authorities and the extent of their functions as well as the names and addresses of the accredited bodies shall be communicated to the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

⇒Adoption permitted by a child’s country of origin is also recognized in a receiving state under the Convention.  

* Currently, an internationally adopted child has to go through a separate procedure for adoption permission in a receiving country.  

What will be the implications of Korea’s joining the Convention?

It requires active intervention by a government agency in charge of international adoption

- (Family court) The adoption permission system was introduced (Special Law on Adoption will take effect in 2012 and Civil Law, in 2013) but still active intervention in all aspects of the adoption procedure including authorization of an adoption agency, and investigation of adoptive parents’ family, etc by the government agency is required.  

* Up to date, private adoption agencies have handled investigation of children and adoptive parents, connection and post-management, etc. (Ministry of Health and Welfare has been in charge of international adoption immigration permission.)

Domestic laws regarding adoption need to be realigned reflecting the extent of intercountry adoption, conditions and procedures in accordance with the Convention.

- New regulations need to be prepared concerning regular children’s intercountry adoption and adoption of foreign children from other countries to Korea* besides those in need of protective care.

* Rules and regulations as a receiving state need to be prepared due to an increase in adoption cases from overseas to Korea such as international marriages in which children of foreign spouses are sometimes adopted to Korea.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion Summary

Purpose: To discuss ways to improve Korea’s adoption systems as a part of preparations for the joining of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption

Date and venue : 18 Nov. 11 (Fri.) 14:00~17:00(3hrs), Diplomatic Center (located in Seochodong)

Presentation

Measures to realign Korea’s laws regarding adoption for the signing of the Hague Convention (temporary title)

Professor Seok, Gwang Hyun(School of Law, Seoul National University)

Implications of the joining of the Hague Convention on the system of protection for children in need of protective care (temporary title)

Professor Roh, Choong Rae(Graduate School of Social Welfare, Ewha Woman’s University)

Discussion

Chair: Professor Seok, Gwang Hyun (School of Law, Seoul National University)

Discussion panel: Manager of Division of Child Welfare Policy, Professor Jang, Bok Hee(Dept. of Law, Sunmoon University), Professor Lee, Eun Joo(Dept. of Social Welfare, Donguk University), Professor Cho, Hye Jung (Dept. of Child Studies, Chongshin University), Cho, Eun Dong, international adoptee(recommended by InKAs)

Attendee

(Related ministries) Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

(Expert) experts on international law and child welfare

(Related groups) Korea Central Adoption Resources, Mission to Promote Adoption in Korea, Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea, KoRoot, Holt Children’s Service Inc., Social Welfare Society, Inc., and Easter Social Welfare Society, etc.

Detailed Schedule

Time

Main contents

Note

14:0014:10

(10″)

o Opening and greeting remarks

- Introduction of participants

- Explanation of the background

Manager of Division of Ƶå

14:1015:10

(60″)

o Key Topic Presentation

- Measures to realign Korea’s laws regarding adoption for the signing of the Hague Convention (temporary title)

- Implications of the joining of the Hague Convention on the system of protection for children in need of protective care (temporary title)

Professor Seok, Gwang Hyun

Professor Roh, Choong Rae

15:1016:10

(60″)

O Panel Presentation  

- Professor Jang, Bok Hee, Sunmoon University

- Professor  Lee, Eun Joo, Donguk University

-Recommendation by an adoption agency

- Cho, Eun Dong, international adoptee

 

16:1017:30

(80″)

o Plenary Discussion

Chair: Professor Seok, Gwang Hyun

17:30

o Closing

 

 

  

Summary and Status of Adoption Systems

Subject: Children in need of protective care whose protection is requested to adoption agencies or child welfare facilities *

* Children in need of protection: children who don’t have parents or who are separated from their parents (Number 4, Article 3 of the Child Welfare Law)

In the case of domestic adoption, the percentage of adoption of children aged under 1: 92.3% * as of end of Jun. 11

Legal basis: Special Law on Adoption Promotion and Procedure (revised on 4 Aug. 11, and entered into force on 5 Aug. 2012)

* Regular adoption and step children adoption systems are specified in the civil law.

Adoption procedure: Consent and request for protection by biological parents (to an adoption agency) → adoption request by adoptive parents (to an adoption agency) → investigation of an adoptive family and matching (by an adoption agency) → adoption report(to a local/provincial government office)

* When it comes to intercountry adoption, instead of adoption report, a child will leave the country after permission for adoption emigration is granted by Minister of Health and Welfare.

 

Adoption status home and abroad

Yearly adoption status home and abroad

                                              (Unit: person)

Category

Total

Before 2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011.6

Total

Total

239,493

221,190

3,562

3,231

2,652

2,556

2,439

2,475

1,388

Home

75,190

(31.4%)

66,146

1,461

(41.0%)

1,332

(41.2%)

1,388

(52.3%)

1,306

(51.1%)

1,314

(53.9%)

1,462

(59.1%)

781

(56.3%)

Abroad

164,303

(68.6%)

155,044

2,101

(59.0%)

1,899

(58.8%)

1,264

(47.7%)

1,250

(48.9%)

1,125

(46.1%)

1,013

(40.9%)

607

(43.7%)

 

Status of disabled children’s adoption

(Unit: person)

By year

Total

Before 2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011.6

Total

39,540

33,812

757

843

669

712

764

725

540

153

133

252

180

Home

476

197

14

16

20

7

27

12

40

29

36

47

31

(1.2%)

                   

(18.7%)

(17.2%)

Abroad

39,064

33,615

743

827

649

705

737

713

500

124

97

205

149

(98.8%)

                   

(81.3%)

(82.8%)

 

Status of intercountry adoption by country

(Unit: person)

 

Year

Total

US

Sweden

Canada

Norway

Australia

Luxemburg

Denmark

France

Italy

2007

1,264

1,013

80

68

20

44

3

22

14

-

2008

1,250

988

76

78

45

18

16

20

8

1

2009

1,125

850

84

67

40

34

17

21

8

4

2010

1,013

775

(76.5%)

74

(7.3%)

60

(5.9%)

43

(4.2%)

18

(1.8%)

12

(1.2%)

21

(2.1%)

6

(0.6%)

4

(0.4%)

2011.6

607

495

(81.5%)

26

(4.3%)

27

(4.4%)

20

(3.3%)

17

(2.8%)

9

(1.5%)

8

(1.3%)

3

(0.5%)

2

(0.3%)

 

Types of adoptees (causes for adoption)

(Unit: person)

 

Year

Domestic adoption

International adoption

Total

Single mom’s child

Child under facility care

Child from broken family, etc

Total

Single mom’s child

Starvation, etc

Child from broken famil

‘07

1,388

1,045

118

225

1,264

1,251

11

2

’08

1,306

1,056

86

164

1,250

1,114

10

126

’09

1,314

1,116

70

128

1,125

1,005

8

112

’10

1,462

1,290

46

126

1,013

876

4

133

(100%)

(88.2%)

(3.1%)

(8.6%)

(100%)

(86.5%)

(0.4%)

(13.1%)

’11.6

781

733

22

26

607

537

8

62

(100%)

(93.9%)

(2.8%)

(3.3%)

(100%)

(88.5%)

(1.3%)

(10.2%)

 

 

 

 

 

Statistics regarding Children in Need of Protective Care

As of 2010, out of 35,605 children in need of protective care, 17,119 children (48%) are under facility-based care and 18,486 children are under family care such as foster care and community homes, etc (52%)  

Foster Care Status

 

Year

Total

Substitute family care

Foster care by relatives

General foster care

No. of households

No. of children

No. of households

No. of children

No. of households

No. of children

No. of households

No. of children

2006

10,253

14,465

6,152

9,062

3,097

4,160

1,004

1,243

2007

11,622

16,200

6,975

10,112

3,651

4,850

996

1,238

2008

11,914

16,454

7,488

10,709

3,436

4,519

990

1,226

2009

12,170

16,608

7,809

10,947

3,438

4,503

923

1,158

2010

12,120

16,359

7,849

10,865

3,365

4,371

906

1,123

Community Home Status

 

Year

No. of facilities

No. of children

No. of employees

Total

Male

Female

2006

 

1,030

     

2007

276

1,368

745

623

623

2008

348

1,664

884

780

754

2009

397

1,993

1,076

917

849

2010

416

2,127

1,125

1,002

894

Status of child welfare facilities and no. of children under facility care

 

Year

Gender

Total

Male

Female

2006

18,817

10,789

8,028

2007

18,426

10,563

7,863

2008

17,992

10,229

7,763

2009

17,586

10,105

7,481

2010

17,119

9,790

7,329

 

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