Practice and Policy

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November 30 - December 1: Conference “Challenges in Adoption Procedures in Europe: ensuring the best interests of the child”, Strasbourg

The Council of Europe and the European Commission organised jointly a conference on “Challenges in Adoption Procedures in Europe: ensuring the best interests of the child”.
The event was held at the Council of Europe Headquarters, in Strasbourg, from 30 November to 1 December 2009. During this conference Spain and The Netherlands signed the Council of Europe Convention on the adoption of children, which was revised in 2008. New provisions introduced by the convention are:

  • The father’s consent is required in all cases, even when the child was born out of wedlock.
  • The child’s consent is necessary if the child has sufficient understanding to give it.
  • It extends to heterosexual unmarried couples who have entered into a registered partnership in States which recognise that institution. It also leaves States free to extend adoptions to homosexual couples and same sex-couples living together in a stable relationship.
  • The new convention strikes a better balance between adopted children’s right to know their identity and the right of the biological parents to remain anonymous.
  • The minimum age of the adopter must be between 18 and 30, and the age difference between adopter and child should preferably be at least 16 years.
“There is no right to adoption for parents looking for children. There is however a right of the child to a family. The prime objective of adoption should therefore be to give a child a family and not to give a family a child. The child’s best interest should be the primary concern for both the adoptive parents and the bodies in charge of adoption,” said Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio. Spain and the Netherlands thus join the 11 other European countries which have already signed the text. Only three ratifications are now needed for the convention to enter into force. The conference "Challenges in Adoption Procedures in Europe" was initiated by French MEP Jean Marie Cavada and investment banker Francois de Combret. One of the items at the Conference was:  "towards a European Adoption Policy?" Adoption workers fear that the aim of the conference is to develop a "European Adoption Policy" so that parents from one member state can adopt from any other member state. This would mean that families in Italy, France and Spain, where there are huge waiting lists of adoptive parents, can access a fresh supply of children from all EU countries in Europe. This would also include Romania, which closed for adoptions due to malpractice (see the book: Romania, for export only) and where the EU-funded reform of Romania's child welfare system resulted in the closure of almost all the notorious children's homes, introduced foster care and a range of family-based alternatives. 

Last Modified: 03-12-2009