From the CCAA:
- Adoption agencies will be able to search and retrieve information of special focus children through the online system, such as name, gender, age, province and welfare institute where they are from, and pathology categories. Agencies can also enquire children’s information based on their pathology and look for suitable families for them.
- After locking the file of special focus children, adoptive families have six months to prepare application files and send to CCAA.
- Adoption agencies may recruit families for special focus children according to families’ needs and the child’s health status. After getting the approval from CCAA, the file of special focus child will be posted on the individual list for the agency, who will be allowed three months to find families.
- Children who take part in Journey of Hope will all be included in the Special Focus category. Name list of these children will be decided based on discussions between CCAA and adoption agencies, or proposed by agencies and approved by CCAA. Children taking part in Journey of Hope basically come from the same orphanage, sometimes several orphanages as needed. Each session of Journey of Hope includes no more than 40 children. CCAA will post files of these children on the individual list of the agency and allow six months for placement.
- When the adoptive family is eligible for adoption, they are allowed to adopt two children within one year simultaneously or successively. They may apply to, as situations vary, adopt a healthy child and a special focus child, or a special needs child and a special focus child, or two special focus children, simultaneously or successively.
- When a family intends to adopt special needs children, especially special focus children, adoption agencies shall convey the true information of the child to adoptive families, help families prepare for the adoption, keep close monitoring on the adoption procedure and provide better post-placement tracking services, so as to protect the interests of adopted children and avoid occurrence of tragedies.
Now, as to the interpretation of it. My interpretation, my best attempt at moving it from translated legalese to regular English:
The children who wait longer than two months on the shared list become Special Focus Children. A few requirements will be relaxed for these children.
- Families now have 6 months instead of 3 to get a dossier together and to the CCAA after matching.
- An agency can request to have a “Special Focus” child assigned to them so that they can actively search for a family for that particular child. The agency will then have that child’s file for three months. I assume this means the child will be removed from the shared list for those three months. I do not know what the agency will be allowed to do in order to “recruit” a family for this child.
- I don’t believe this makes changes to the Journey of Hope program, but it is noted that the children in this program will be classified as “Special Focus” children. The biggest benefit that this classification will give is probably the ability to be able to adopt children closer than a year apart.
- Families who adopt a Special Focus Child are allowed to adopt two children at the same time. The other child can be healthy, special needs, or special focus. They can adopt them at the same time, or they can do so within a year of each other, which is normally not allowed.
- Agencies are tasked with making sure the family is prepared to parent the child, with closely monitoring things, and with providing better post placement services to protect the interests of the children.
I think this is a positive step to work towards helping the harder to place children find families. Agencies have argued that it is hard for them to focus on finding parents for a particular child because if another agency is doing so as well then by the time they find a family the child may no longer be available. They’ve argued that it is a better use of resources for agencies to not focus on the same hard to place children, that it would be better for each agency to focus their efforts on different children, as that gives a larger number of children a chance at a family. It appears the CCAA is responding to this, and I’m impressed.
There have also been the complaints that families in the NSN program often see a child they would be interested in adopting, but can’t be sure it will be a year before they get their referral. It will probably be a year, but who knows for sure? This will allow some of those families a little more leeway, and that is also a good thing. As a general rule the “wait at least a year before you adopt again” rule is a good idea, but to put it in place with no exceptions…. not so much. Especially when there are so many unknowns, timewise, in the program as it stands now.
I am very happy to see the last point, tasking the agencies with making sure the family is prepared to parent this child, and then keeping an eye on things, and offering more post placement services in general. I have a feeling that at some point we’ll see some official changes in this regards that will affect all adoptions, but for now I’m happy to see that this is on their mind.