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Adopted children have right to info on biological parents — Children’s Advocate

Wednesday, April 30, 2014    

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ADOPTED children should have access to particular types of information on their biological parents once they attain adulthood.

Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon-Harrison made the point while speaking at a national consultation held recently at the New Kingston Business Centre. The forum was one of two national consultations on the proposed amendments to the Children (Adoption Of) Act.

Gordon-Harrison said it is critical for a child, if he desires, to have information on his biological background, especially if genetic diseases such as sickle cell runs in the family.

"I think the right to information in a structured way as the review proposes to do is in fact a very critical factor and is reflective of how this review seeks to keep apace with developments in time," she said.

Currently, the Child Development Agency, under the Ministry of Youth and Culture, is conducting a review of the country's adoption laws in a bid to make the process less tedious, more easily understod by the general public, and in line with international standards.

Gordon-Harrison said the revised Act would reduce the levels of anxiety that persons often experience during the application process.

"These targets, if achieved, would lead to transparency and an adoption process that will be reflective of less confusion and greater understanding amongst all. It should be a system, when it's complete, of which we can be proud, and which will see greater levels of efficiency and our children being placed into loving and caring environments that will nurture them and cause them to achieve their full potential, no matter their start in life," she stated.

Under the current legislation, which was enacted in 1958, any child over the age of six weeks and under 18 years old is eligible for adoption. Also, any person 25 years and older can adopt a child or children. Also, persons who are 18 and older can adopt younger relatives.

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