Inter–country adoptions and the best interest of the child
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The concept of inter-country adoptions was reintroduced into the South African legal sphere in The Minister of Social Welfare and Population Development v Fitzpatrick 2000 3 SA 422 (CC), where the constitutionality of section 18(4)(f) of the Child Care Act 74 of 1983, which prohibited inter-country adoptions, was successfully challenged. The decision evoked criticism from all around the world, some in favour of inter-country adoptions and others not. In considering this decision, one also has to keep in mind section 28(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 which affords every child the right to family care or parental care, or to appropriate alternative care when removed from the family environment. The aim of this paper is to investigate the inner workings of inter-country adoptions, which are regulated by the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption of 1993 and, nationally, the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. These findings will then be relayed back to the ‘best interests of the child’ principle to determine whether inter-country adoption is in the best interests of the child, or not.
- Law