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May 23, 2022



Czech adoption at decade low, Romani children often "exported"

Prague, 17.7.2014 16:43, (ROMEA)

Authorities in the Czech Republic received the lowest number of requests for adoption last year during the past decade, a total of 626 (see table below). In recent years the number of requests has been gradually declining.

Last year a total of 1 575 boys and girls began living in orphanages, according to the Czech Labor and Social Affairs Ministry's annual statistics on child protection. The number of children in institutional care has also been falling annually.

Those interested in adopting children first apply with municipal authorities. Local governments then transfer the requests, along with the necessary background information, to the Regional Authorities.

While officials facilitate adoptions, the decision to grant an adoption is made by a court. Authorities received the most requests for adoption ever in 2006, a total of 912.

The number of adoptions has gradually declined ever since on an annual basis. Compared to 2006, the number last year declined by roughly one-third.

That number is the lowest in 10 years. Only the year 2012 was an exception to the decline, when officials received 729 requests.

The falling number of adoption requests may reflect people's economic situations, which were worsened by the financial crisis. However, another role may be played by the fact that the number of people of parental age in the country is also shrinking.

Adoption requests may be made not just by couples, but also by single men and women. "However, these applicants must be prepared that it is very likely they will have to wait for a child a bit longer than a married couple does. A complete family with both father and mother is still considered ideal," the Center for Foster Family Care has reported.

According to the center, authorities evaluate what kind of circle of loved ones single applicants have whom they can ask for help. For married applicants, authorities focus on the stability of their union.

The length of time that people wait to adopt a child depends on the situation in that particular region, the number of children available, and the number of other applicants. "The length of time is also influenced by the applicant's specific notions about adoption and the degree of their tolerance for the family and personal history of the child," the center reports.

If applicants do not find a new child for adoption within three years, they can be included on a list of those interested in adopting a child from abroad. If officials do not succeed in finding a child abroad for the parents within six months, the family may begin to seek a child abroad on their own.

"Romani children are one of our hidden 'export articles'. They have a problem being adopted into families here because no one wants them," Czech Labor and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová Tominová (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) recently told a meeting of journalists.

The minister said young Romani boys and girls adopted abroad usually join new parents in Italy or in northern countries. The ministry reports that in 2008, approximately 2 300 boys and girls began living in orphanages for children age three and older, with a total of 8 000 children in such institutions.

Last year about 1 580 children were institutionalized for the first time. There were a total of 6 500 children in such institutions, which is roughly 25 % fewer than in 2005 or 2006.

The number of children age three and over who are institutionalized is falling annually. Last year it fell by 500 compared to the year before.

However, another roughly 1 400 boys and girls are living in neonatal institutions and in orphanages for children up to the age of three. That number, according to statistics, has not changed significantly in recent years.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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