JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Adopted children should have access to particular types of information on their biological origins, once they attain adulthood.
  • Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon-Harrison made this point while speaking at a national consultation held recently at the New Kingston Business Centre.
  • She alluded to certain genetic diseases, such as the sickle cell trait, which the child should be aware of and be in a position to make informed decisions.

Adopted children should have access to particular types of information on their biological origins, once they attain adulthood.

Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon-Harrison made this point while speaking at a national consultation held recently at the New Kingston Business Centre. The forum was one of two national consultations on the proposed amendments to the Children (Adoption Of) Act.

Mrs. Gordon-Harrison said it is critical for a child, if they desire, to have information on their biological background.

She alluded to certain genetic diseases, such as the sickle cell trait, which the child should be aware of and be in a position to make informed decisions.

“So I think the right to information in a structured way as the review proposes to do is in fact a very critical factor and is reflective of how this review seeks to keep a pace with developments in time,” she added.

Currently, the Child Development Agency, under the Ministry of Youth and Culture is conducting a review of the country’s adoption laws in a bid to make the process less tedious, and in line with international standards.

Under the current legislation, which was implemented in 1958, any child over the age of six weeks and under 18 years old is eligible for adoption. Also, any person 25 years and older can adopt a child or children.

Also, persons who are 18 years old and older can adopt younger relatives.

Mrs. Gordon-Harrison said the revised Act would reduce the levels of anxiety that persons often experience during the application process.

“These targets if achieved would lead to transparency and an adoption process that will be reflective of less confusion and greater understanding amongst all. It should be a system when it’s complete, (a system) of which we can be proud, and which will see greater levels of efficiency  and our children being placed into loving and caring environments that will nurture them and cause them to achieve their full potentials no matter their starts in life,” she stated.