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.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND ITS FUNCTIONS:
A. The Inter-country Adoption Board Members
Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995 created the Board which is composed of the Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the ex-officio Chairperson and six (6) other members to be appointed by the President for a non-renewable term of six (6) years:
a. One (1) psychiatrist or psychologist,
b. Two (2) lawyers who have at least the qualifications of a regional trial court judge,
c. One (1) registered social worker, and
d. Two (2) representatives from non-governmental organizations engaged in child-
caring and placement activities,
A collegial body, the Board exercises the general administrative, executive and collegial decision making functions of the whole agency. The powers and functions of the Board include: policy formulation, program development, regulatory authority and advocacy and networking. Directly under the Board’s supervision are the Inter-Country Placement Committee (ICPC) and the Secretariat.
The Board shall have the following powers and functions:
- To prescribe rules and regulations as it may deem reasonably necessary to carry out the provisions of the Act, after consultations and upon favorable recommendation of the different agencies concerned with child-caring, placement and adoption;
- To set the guidelines for the convening of and Inter-country Adoption Placement Committee which shall be under the direct supervision of the Board;
- To set the guidelines for the manner by which selection/matching of prospective adoptive parents and adoptive child can be made;
- To determine a reasonable schedule of fees and to be exacted in connection with the application for and process of adoption;
- To determine the form and contents of the application for inter-country adoption;
- To formulate and develop policies, programs and services that will protect the Filipino child from abuse, exploitation, trafficking and adoption practice that is harmful, detrimental and prejudicial tot eh best interests of the child;
- To institute systems and procedures to prevent improper financial gain in connection with adoption and deter improper practices which are contrary to the Act;
- To promote the development of adoption services, including post-legal adoption services;
- To accredit and authorize foreign private adoption agencies which have demonstrated professionalism, competence and have consistently pursued non-profit objectives to engage in the placement of Filipino children in their own country; provided, that such foreign adoption agencies are duly authorized and accredited by their own government to conduct inter-country adoption; provided however, that the total number of authorized and accredited foreign private adoption agencies shall not exceed one hundred a year.
- To take appropriate measures to ensure the confidentiality of the records of the child, the natural parents and the adoptive parents at all times;
- To prepare, review, modify and thereafter, recommend to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Memoranda of Agreement on inter-country adoption consistent with the implementation of this Act and its stated goals, entered into, between and among foreign governments, international organizations and recognized international non-governmental organizations;
- To assist other concerned agencies and the courts in the implementation of this Act, particularly in the coordination with foreign persons, agencies and other entities involved in the process of adoption and the physical transfer of the child; and
- To perform such other functions on matters relating to inter-country adoption as may be determined by the President.
B. The Inter-country Placement Committee (ICPC) Consultants
The Inter-country Placement Committee or the ICPC is composed of consultants from the following representations: a child psychiatrist or psychologist, a medical doctor, a lawyer, a registered social worker and a representative of a non-governmental organization engaged in child welfare.
This multi-disciplinary group is involved in the following:
- Review and evaluate adoption applications and recommend appropriate action to the Board;
- Review profiles of Prospective Adoptive Parents and Prospective Adoptive Children for
- Attend and participate in the deliberation during the Matching Conference and make
recommendation to the Board of Matching Placements;
- Act as consultants to the Secretariat in their area/field of expertise;
- Assist the Board in its accreditation function;
- Act as resource persons during the conduct of ICAB Training activities;
- Perform such other functions and duties as may be determined by the Board.
C. The Inter-country Adoption Board Secretariat
The Secretariat is the implementing arm of the Board. This is headed by an Executive Director
The existing Secretariat has two (2) divisions with a total of 41 personnel:
- Operations Division and
- Support Services Division.
Thirteen (13) permanent staff
Three (3) Contract of Service Workers
Nine (9) Outsourced Manpower Services
Six (6) Temporary Staff
The functions of the Secretariat shall include the following:
(a) Provide secretariat, records keeping and other services to the Board and the Committee;
(b) Review, and process applications, matching proposals, placements, and all documents requiring action by the Board;
(c) Maintain and facilitate communications with the Committee and the different government offices; non-governmental agencies, Central Authorities (CAs), Foreign Adoption Agencies (FAAs), and in proper cases through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) or Philippine Foreign Service Posts and the general public;
(d) Review licensing and accreditation applications and status of agencies for action by the Board;
(e) Perform such other duties as the Board may direct.
The Secretariat is the implementing arm of the Board. It is tasked to: (1) undertake research; (2) plan and implement programs and services on inter-country adoption; (3) provide, maintain and manage logistical requirements; and (4) prepare and implement financial plan. It is involved in the day to day activities of the ICAB. It is headed by an Executive Director appointed by the President with the concurrence of a majority of the members of the Board. The Executive Director acts as the executive officer of the Secretariat and exercises supervision over its personnel.
The Operations Division is responsible for the management of adoption cases inclusive of post legal adoption services. This unit ensures the streamlining of inter-country adoption documentation, evolve more systematic and cost effective mechanisms for the immediate facilitation of placement of children cleared for inter-country adoption (ICA) and processing to speed up allocation of child/ren to approved applicants. This will also provide psycho-social and support services to adoptees, adoptive parents and the biological parents, popularly known as the adoption triangle, who may wish to search for their roots or reunite with their birth family after the adoption is legally completed. This division shall be composed of the (1) Child Welfare Unit (CWU), (2) Family Welfare Unit (FWU), (3) Special Projects Unit (SPU) and (4) Post Legal Adoption Unit (PLAU).
The Operations Division is the heart/core of the Secretariat composed mostly of technical staff who are licensed social workers. It is in this division where adoption inquiries are received and responded to, dossier of adoptive applicants and children cleared for inter-country adoption are evaluated to determine the Home Study and Child Study Reports’ completeness and the supporting documentary requirements’ compliance in substance and in form. The Operations social workers likewise assist and facilitate the pre-matching and matching of children cleared for inter-country adoption placement and prepare the justification of such placements for the Board’s consideration. In coordination with the ICAB’s Liaison Officer, the travel documents of the proposed children accepted by the Prospective Adoptive Parents are processed with the respective Philippine governmental agencies (e.g. NSO, DFA, Malacañang, DOJ, CFO, DOT, DOH, etc.) and immigration authorities of the different Embassies/Consulates. To date, the ICAB works with 76 local partners (GO/NGO Child Caring/Child Placing Agencies), 27 Embassies/Consulates and 109 foreign stakeholders (Central Authorities on Inter-country Adoption, NGO Adoption Agencies and Governmental Adoption Agencies). On the other hand, the Support Services Division primarily provide, maintain and manage logistical requirements to support the agency in the attainment of its vision/mission and goals.
The Planning and Development Unit under the Operations Division serves as a component in translating the agency’s vision, mission and goals into operational contexts. It is responsible for the preparation of research outputs/working papers/position papers/resource materials which provides the Board for its bases for the formulation of policies and plans and development of programs to address inter-country adoption issues, build and strengthen partnerships with its intermediaries, stakeholders and other members of the civil society. It is also responsible for the setting of standards, monitoring, networking and evaluating the enforcement of and compliance to standards, rules and regulations and sanctions for Foreign Adoption Agencies (FAAs), Liaison Service Agencies (LSA) and Child Caring/Child Placing Agencies (CCAs/CPAs).
Under the Support Services Division is the (1) Administrative Services Section and (2) Financial Management Services Section. The Administrative Services Section is primarily responsible for the provision of the logistical services: procurement, property and supply management, record management, human resource management (personnel transactions, employees welfare and career planning and development), maintenance of property/facilities, operation of transportation, communication, utility services and supervision of janitors and security services.
On the other hand, the Financial Management Service Section is responsible for the preparation and implementation of an effective and efficient financial plan to support the ICAB’s program/activities/projects aimed at achieving its desired outcome and mandate.
Address: # 2 Chicago corner Ermin Garcia Streets,
Barangay Pinagkaisahan, Cubao, Quezon City
1111 Metro-Manila, Philippines
Telephone: (632) 726—4551
FAX: (632) 725-6664
Ex—Officio Chairperson: Hon. Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Alternate Chairperson: Parisya H. Taradji
Undersecretary, Operations and Programs Group
Lawyers: Atty. Ma. Cielo S. Rondain
Atty. Noel R. Del Prado
Social Worker: Dr. Ma. Lyra T. del Castillo
Psychiatrist: Dr. Aida Muncada, MD
NGO Representatives: Sr. Maria Socorro G. Evidente, DC
Rafael S. Tinio
Inter—country Placement Committee
Medical Doctors: Regina Cailao, MD
Esperanza Rivera, MD
Cynthia Castro, MD
Lawyers: Atty. Marietta Turingan
Atty. Gabriella Concepcion
Atty. Anna Maria Abad
Psychiatrist/Psychologist: Prof. Susana Corazon Ortega
Llwelyn Dela Cruz
Fr. Bernal Melchor, SVD
Social Workers: Wilhemina Dacanay
Prof. Rosette Palma
NGO Representatives: Angelita Alegre
Sr. Lorenz Sanggalang, RGS
Executive Director Atty. Bernadette B. Abejo
Social Welfare Officer V: Gina C. Escalante
Social Welfare Officer IV: Jennifer Maria Rubia
Social Welfare Officers III: Imelda Ronda
Social Welfare Officers II: Kathrine dela Cruz
Cherryl Del Mundo
Angelie Amor Garcia
Myrel Anne Leido
Rosa Marie Tejones
Project Development Officer III: Marivir T. Tungol
Project Development Officer I: Lyra Gay Villamarin
Senior Administrative Assistant I: Nelia Dela Cruz
Support Services Division:
Admin and Finance
Admin Officer V/Admin: Janet T. Santos
Admin Officer V/Budget: Angelita Guerinia
Admin Officer V/Cashier: Almia Nanagad
Accountant III: Carina Sangil
Admin Officer V/Records: Herman Mangabat
Admin Assistant V: vacant
Admin Assistant IV: Edith Abad
Admin Assistants III: Marissa Prades
Admin Assistant II: Myra Marilag
Admin Aide VI: Sherlinda Rosada
Admin Aide IV: Christian Aleta