From the Phnom Penh Post March 3, 2015:
In a statement issued on Monday, the ministry opened the application process for international adoption agencies, as only adoption agencies accredited by receiving countries and licensed by the ministry are allowed to provide inter-country adoption services in Cambodia.
Though the ban on such adoptions was officially lifted in January 2013, Cambodia, lacking an adequate framework, still has not processed any.
Monday’s move is the most recent step in a long, drawn-out attempt to bring order to a process that has, due to weak laws and lax enforcement, been plagued with allegations of human trafficking.
Rithyroath, however, explained that the country wouldn’t be ready to commence adoptions until the ICAA, with the help of UNICEF and other partners, develops a procedure for adoptions within the country – which is expected to be finalised by the end of March – and strengthens its case-management system.
“These checks and balances should ensure that … domestic options have indeed been exhausted and that an inter-country adoption does not result in improper financial gain for those involved; to assess the proposed adopting parents and … be certain that they can care for the child,” UNICEF communication chief Denise Shepherd-Johnson said.
The US, which initiated a case management training program for local officials in 2014, said yesterday in a statement that it has yet to re-up its agreement with Cambodia, but is working to “ensure that when inter-country adoptions to the US do resume, they are ethical, transparent, and in the best interests of each adopted child”.
According to Rithyroath, the first wave of inter-country adoptions will focus on children with special needs, because “maybe the international adoptive parents can help them by giving them better lives in countries with better health systems”.
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