At Education Questions on 3 September 2012 Valerie asked the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, to confirm that the safeguards of the Hague convention will still apply to inter-country adoptions, and that the adoption panels’ functions will not be watered down when the adoption process is speeded up.
“I welcome the Government’s commitment to speeding up the adoption process, but it is critical that the safeguards surrounding adoption are preserved in order to ensure that children, and families, are sufficiently protected.
“The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption is an agreement between over 90 states that seeks to ensure that intercountry adoptions are made in the best interests of the child and with respect to his or her fundamental rights. It aims to protect children against the risks of illegal, irregular, premature or ill-prepared adoptions abroad.
“The Government’s plans to remove one of the functions of adoption panels – their responsibility for advising local authorities on whether an adoption placement is appropriate – will speed up the adoption process, but this must not come at the expense of the important checks and safeguards that the function provides. Ensuring that the Hague Convention is observed is one way of ensuring that children are protected when they go through the adoption process. This is especially important where inter-country adoption is concerned, as children may be more vulnerable when adopted by a family in a different country.
“ I am pleased the Secretary of State agreed that it was vital to ensure international safeguards remain. I will continue to campaign for improving the adoption system for children, families and prospective adopters.”
You can read Valerie’s question and the Secretary of State’s response here.
You can read about Valerie’s contribution to a Westminster Hall debate on Adoption on 5 July here. To find out more about Valerie’s Ten Minute Rule Bill to equalise leave, pay and allowances for adoptive parents click here.