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4,200 apply to adopt TT children, but only 20 children available

By AZARD ALI Wednesday, June 17 2015

THERE were 4,200 persons in Trinidad and Tobago who applied to adopt children, but there are only 20 children available. Yesterday, the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (CATT) revealed that since it took over the role and functions of the Adoption Board, it intends to free up the bureaucracy to make it easier for couples to adopt children.

And in order to source more children eligible for adoption, The CATT is on a drive to sensitise the public. The aim is to give more children homes to live in like normal families.

Recently, the Adoption Children Act of 2000 was proclaimed by His Excellency President Anthony Carmona.

The CATT held a sensitisation session on Friday last, for families who were pre-approved for adoption by the former Adoption Board. Senior Counsel Stephanie Daly who chairs the CATT, said that efforts are being made to make it easier for people to adopt children.

As the CATT gets its act together, she said, more children would be made available for adoption at the early stage of the process when court orders are being sought.

Daly added that the CATT intends to remove many of the restrictions on who could apply to adopt children. In fact, the CATT issued a public invitation for persons to contact the authority on its website www.ttchildren.org , if they want to adopt.

Newsday was told by the communications unit of the CATT yesterday, that since the establishment of the Adoption Board in 1947, 4,200 persons in Trinidad and Tobago applied to adopt children.

That was up to 2014. However, currently, there are only 88 persons who have been approved and are on the CATT’s list for adoption. Of that figure, 11 single parents have been approved to adopt children.

Unfortunately, there are only 20 children, the CATT’s communications department revealed yesterday, available for adoption in Trinidad and Tobago.

The CATT intends to conduct a national drive to sensitise the public that the process would be made easier, but more than that, to investigate the availability of children who are in need of homes and parents who can adopt them. Adoption has been slow and complex, with only 21 children adopted in 2008 and 20 in 2009, despite the demand. In 2010, the Adoption Board facilitated 16 adoptions and in 2011 - 13.

Just seven children were adopted in 2012 and in 2013 - 11 children. But last year, only five children were adopted.

The CATT said yesterday that international adoption would be facilitated in the coming years.

At the session, a couple appealed to the CATT to consider facilitating children for adoption, who are older than the usual age sought after of below five.

Most adoption applicants seek to have a baby, but the CATT is hoping that a more liberal approach would be adopted, “because each child is entitled to have a home”.

Speaking at the sessions, CATT’s Chief Executive Officer, Sharifa Ali-Abdullah, said that once children who are eligible for adoption are brought to the attention of the authority, “the process would begin, so as to provide them with the most stable and nurturing environment”.

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