Stepping up inter-country adoption service is part of Vietnam`s efforts to maximize conditions for children.
Vietnam has greatly protected children’s rights and maximized social welfare for those disadvantaged adolescents through the Inter-country Adoption Service with the support by the UNCEF and the US government over the past years.
With the ratification of The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption (The Hague Convention) in 2011, Vietnam has marked a milestone in multilateral cooperation in international justice and inter-country adoption.
The moves have enabled Vietnam to seek better living conditions for its juveniles as the country is home to roughly 1.4 million children living in extremely poor conditions, including 176,000 orphans and abandoned. Some 22,000 children are currently living in social protection shelters, according to data provided by the French Institute.
UNICEF and France
In August 2018, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the French Embassy in Vietnam have signed an agreement to finalize their collaboration to improve international adoption standards in the country.
The two-year project will help strengthen the legal and policy framework on adoption, support a pilot project in in Ho Chi Minh City and in Danang on inter-country adoption in compliance with the international standards defined in the 1993 Hague Adoption Convention.
It will also help build capacity of agencies and organizations working on adoption, including on monitoring and supervision through training on alternative care and adoption processes and procedures.
Vietnam has ratified the Hague Convention in 2011 and the authorities have committed to ensure that inter-country adoption is done in an ethical and transparent manner giving paramount consideration to the best interests of children, said UNICEF Representative in Vietnam Youssouf Abdel-Jelil.
He said the child protection system in the country is still nascent and inter-country adoption in Vietnam still faces several gaps and challenges to meet international standards, the UNICEF said on its website.
Vietnam is the first country of origin in terms of adoption for France.
Meanwhile, the UNICEF’s work in Viet Nam focuses on building and strengthening the child protection system, working with governmental partners, UN agencies, and civil society to ensure that a robust legal and policy framework is in place for the protection of children and to build capacity of the social welfare, justice and law enforcement sectors.
In a latest move, on April 17, 2019, Yves Dénéchère, director of the French Institute of Vietnam and professor at University of Angers, and Le Hong Loan, child protection specialist of UNICEF Vietnam, discussed international adoption and child protection in the Southeast Asian country.
Inter-country adoption has become an effective means of helping unhappy children and Vietnam was one of the first countries of origin of adopted children in the 1970s.
So far, France is the third host country for Vietnamese children. According to Dénéchère, 1,300 Vietnamese children arrive in France every year.
Inter-country adoption between the US and Vietnam has been inactive since 2008.
Since that time, Vietnam has strengthened its commitment to reforming its adoption system. After The Hague Convention entered into force for Vietnam in February 2012, Vietnam has taken a number of steps to improve the implementation, particularly in adoptions of children with special needs and for older children and biological sibling groups.
A new adoption law, implementing decree, and related circulars have been passed and are being implemented.
The US highlighted Vietnam’s efforts to enhance its child welfare and inter-country adoption system and has determined that, through the Special Adoption Program, it will be able to process Convention adoptions from Vietnam.
In September 2014, the inter-country adoption resumed between the US and Vietnam and the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice licensed two US adoption service providers namely Dillon International and Holt International Children’s Services to operate inter-country adoption program for children with special needs, children aged five and older, and children in biological sibling groups.
In 2016, the first inter-country adoption visa was issued under the new Special Adoption Program between the US and Vietnam.
Former US Ambassador Ted Osius to Vietnam praised Vietnam’s efforts to enhance its child welfare system and develop a transparent and ethical inter-country adoption process under the Hague Convention.