ADOPTION ( Extract from No.28944GOVERNMENT GAZETTE, 19 JUNE 2006 110 Act No. 38, CHILDREN’S ACT, 2005)

Adoption228. A child is adopted if the child has been placed in the permanent care of a person in terms of a court order that has the effects contemplated in section 242.

Purposes of adoption

229. The purposes of adoption are to-

(a) protect and nurture children by providing a safe, healthy environment with positive support; and

(b) promote the goals of permanency planning by connecting children to other safe and nurturing family relationships intended to last a lifetime.

Child who may be adopted

230. (1) Any child may be adopted if-

(a) the adoption is in the best interests of the child;

(b) the child is adoptable; and the provisions of this Chapter are complied with.

(2) An adoption social worker must make an assessment to determine whether a child is adoptable.

(3) A child is adoptable if-

(a) the child is an orphan and has no guardian or caregiver who is willing to adopt the child;

(b) the whereabouts of the child’s parent or guardian cannot be established;

(c) the child has been abandoned;

(d)the child’s parent or guardian has abused or deliberately neglected the child, or has allowed the child to be abused or deliberately neglected; or the child is in need of a permanent alternative placement.

Persons who may adopt child

231. (1) A child may be adopted-

(a) jointly by-

(i) a husband and wife;

(ii) partners in a permanent domestic life-partnership; or

(iii) other persons sharing a common household and forming a permanent family unit;

(b) by a widower, widow, divorced or unmarried person;

(c) by a married person whose spouse is the parent of the child or by a person

whose permanent domestic life-partner is the parent of the child;

(d)by the biological father of a child born out of wedlock; or

(e)by the foster parent of the child.

(2) A prospective adoptive parent must be-

(a) fit and proper to be entrusted with full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child;

(b) willing and able to undertake, exercise and maintain those responsibilities and rights ;

(c) over the age of 18 years; and

(d) properly assessed by an adoption social worker for compliance with paragraphs (a) and (b).

(3) In the assessment of a prospective adoptive parent, an adoption social worker may take the cultural and community diversity of the adoptable child and prospective adoptive parent into consideration.

(4) A person may not be disqualified from adopting a child by virtue of his or her financial status.

(5) Any person who adopts a child may apply for means-tested social assistance where applicable.

(6) A person unsuitable to work with children is not a fit and proper person to adopt a child.

(7) (a) The biological father of a child who does not have guardianship in respect of the child in terms of Chapter 3 or the foster parent of a child has the right to be considered as a prospective adoptive parent when the child becomes available for adoption.

(b) A person referred to in paragraph (a) must be regarded as having elected not to apply for the adoption of the child if that person fails to apply for the adoption of the child within 30 days after a notice calling on that person to do so has been served on him or her by the sheriff.

(8) A family member of a child who, prior to the adoption, has given notice to the clerk of the children’s court that he or she is interested in adopting the child has the right to be considered as a prospective adoptive parent when the child becomes available for adoption