Background of the Intercountry Adoption Board
The implementation of the inter-country adoption program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) dates back to the late 60’s. In the 70’s, the Bureau of Family and Child Welfare handled the program, and then in 1991 the program was transferred to the Special Child Welfare Services Unit (SCWSU), Office of the Minister, MSSD. In 1991, the SCWSU was transformed into the Philippine Inter-Country Adoption Unit (PIAU) and operated as such for four (4) years.
In June 1995, the PIAU was abolished with the passage of Republic Act 8043, otherwise known as the Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995. Under this Act, the Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) was created to act as the Central Authority in matters relating tointer-country adoption of Filipino children and as the policy making body for purposes of carrying-out the provisions of the ICA Act of 1995.
The ICAB’s so-called “conception” took nine (9) years. It was “conceived” in 1986 during the presidency of Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino and “delivered” in June 7, 1995 under the administration of President Fidel V. Ramos with the enactment of Republic Act No. 8043. RA 8043 is indeed a landmark legislation in the field of child welfare. It provided the legal base for the implementation of the Philippine inter-country adoption program.
The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on inter-country adoption was approved on December 26, 1995 and took effect on January 17, 1996. The IRR has undergone one amendment – on March 22, 2004 whereby the highlights included: (1) authorization and accreditation of foreign adoption agencies among the Non-Hague States; (2) provisions on failure of the physical transfer to occur, emergency intervention and reporting; and (3) disruption and termination of placements. The Board deliberated on the re-amendment of the 2004 Amended IRR and a public forum was held on May 18, 2006. It focused on inclusion of the Board’s powers and functions; authorization by the Board of a foreign adoption agency coming from a Contracting State; accreditation by the Board of a foreign adoption agency coming from a Non-Contracting State; authorized representatives of the Board to undertake authorization or accreditation; authorization or accreditation costs; and procedures for the suspension or revocation of authorization/accreditation. On March 23, 2007 the approved 2007 Amendment of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Inter-country Adoption Law of 1995 (RA 8043) was published in two leading newspapers. The 2007 Amended IRR took effect on April 16, 2007 which better articulated the requirements and procedures of the inter-country adoption program and gave authority to the Board to charge accreditation/authorization fees.
The Board is the policy-making authority. The Board sets guidelines for the manner of selection and matching of prospective adoptive parents and verifies that a child is qualified for adoption. The Board makes the final decisions on adoption applications and matching proposals.