What is the adoption process in South Africa?
1.The first step is to find an agency, thereinafter, you will do the orientation meeting whereby everything will be discussed with you and the designated social worker. Once everything has been discussed and understood, the social worker will give you an application which needs to be filled in and returned back to the agency once everything required has been completed.
2. It is required is to obtain a police clearance for all parties applying for the adoption. This is to see whether you have any previous convictions, more specifically, sex crimes or whereby a person is prohibited from being near children.
3. Now, the most important part of the adoption process which will be explained below:
Adoption Screening and Approval:
- Adoptions can only be processed by an accredited adoption social worker and all prospective adoptive parents must be screened before they can adopt. Choosing the right social worker is a very important part of the adoption process. Options include working through an agency, a private social worker, Child Welfare or using a Department of Social Development social worker. It is suggested that you get a personal recommendation if possible, but that you can also use the National Adoption Coalition’s website to find the right social worker or agency in your province.
- The screening process is extremely thorough as it entails looking into the parents’ backgrounds, the stability of their relationship, their lifestyles, their income and expenditure, and their general readiness to provide a home for a child. Your social worker will carry out interviews with both parents (and one if a single parent is adopting) as well as a home visit.
- At the end of this process, the social worker will provide a report and the adoption team will review the application, which includes findings and documentation to determine whether the prospective parents are suitable in terms of the Children’s Act.
- The Screening can take anything from 3 months to 6months.
4. Once you have received the report from the social worker, the agency will put you on a register of adoptable Children and Adoptive Parents. Once a child has been matched with you, you will need to obtain consent in terms of the Children’s Act, however consent can be excluded provided that the child. This is regulated by Section 233 of the Children’s Act.
5. If you have completed the above, you can officially apply to the Children’s Court to obtain your adoption order. In the Application for the Adoption, you will accompany the following with the application:
- information that the child is adoptable;
- the parents are adoptable;
- The social worker’s report;
- The psychologist assessment;
- Police clearance;
- A letter from the Social by the provincial head of social development;
- Consent of the adoption;
- Any effort to finding the biological parents of the child.
The adoption process can take up to a year and sometimes even longer, but at the end of the process, it is all worth it. Contact our legal experts for more information, legal advice and guidance on all matters related to the adoption process in South Africa.