THE REGULATION OF INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION IN SOUTH AFRICA
Keywords:abandoned, vulnerable children, alternative care, intercountry adoptions, best interests of the child
In South Africa, the Director General of the DSD appoints the Central Authority. Applications for intercountry adoption are made to the Central Authority. The aim is to protect the best interests of children involved in the process of intercountry adoption. This task is of paramount importance. The Central Authority is also tasked with maintaining relationships and promoting cooperation among the competent authorities within the State to protect children and to achieve the objectives of the Convention. In addition, where an adoption takes place after the child has been transferred to the receiving State and the Central Authority of the receiving State is of the view that the continued placement of the child with the prospective adoptive parents is not in the best interests of the child, the Central Authority is required to take the necessary measures to protect such child. These measures include withdrawing the child from the prospective adoptive parents and arranging temporary care and a new placement for the child in consultation with the Central Authority of the State of origin. The Central Authority therefore acts as a “gatekeeper”, with all adoptions in-and-out of the country channelled through its checks. It fulfils an important function to eliminate practices which may violate the best interests of the child.
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