A meeting between the Ministry of Justice and all the Bulgarian NGOs was held today, on the topic of the current status of the registers. The alarming fact that less and less children get inscribed in the register for intercountry adoption was discussed. The analysis of the reasons for that shows that the children placed in foster families and Centers for Family Type Accommodation get inscribed in the register only at the discretion of the respective social worker, as opposed to the children placed in the regular Homes for Children, who are subject to mandatory inscription in the registers for adoption. Unfortunately, by virtue of European subsidy programs, a very large number of children were taken out of the regular institutions and placed in foster families and Centers for Family Type Accommodation. As a result, a decrease is seen in the total number of the children registered for adoption, especially with regards to healthy children up to the age of 5 years. At the same time, almost 75 % of the registered candidate-adopters are applying for healthy children up to 5 years of age. Following the meeting held, we would like to recommend to our clients, who wish to adopt a child/children up to the age of 5 years, to extend their tolerance as regards the child's health condition and development and, in case their age is appropriate, to update their wish to adopt by accepting a child at a higher age.
The Ministry of Justice launched an appeal for all specific cases of mistreatment of children placed in foster families and institutions to be systematized, which would serve for a motivated dialogue with the Social Assistance Agency. We would like to hereby turn to all adoptive families we have worked with and who have experienced such issues as part of their adoption procedure, to please inform us in a timely manner.
The Ministry of Justice also shared their policy of strictly following the deadlines for submission of families' updated approvals and home study reports, their yearly updates and confirmation of their wish to adopt, as well as the cooperation agreements between partnering agencies.
Actually, the information presented during the meeting is not new to any of the NGOs in Bulgaria. We have been taking these trends into consideration in our work for a long time now. What is positive about this meeting is that the problems were officially recognized and some measures for solving them were outlined.