Local closed adoptions in Malta could soon be a reality after the Family Ministry kicked off the process for a public consultation to introduce new regulations.
Local legislation as it stands simply provides for the possibility of having an open adoption, which allows biological parents continued access, however it does not regulate these matters in further depth. The ministry feels that the law needs to regulate such access and needs to provide safeguards for the best interests of the adopted child.
Minister Michael Falzon conceded that the ministry is well aware of the number of children who are currently in the alternative care system and who therefore are lacking the opportunity to live and thrive within a family environment.
At this stage, the ministry is presenting a set of proposals which will be examined further in the coming weeks. Stakeholders and professionals are invited to send their feedback on current legislation and proposals of reform to the ministry.
The involvement of the authorities in post-adoption matters needs to be regulated, particularly in the drawing up of post-adoption reports and in regulating access with the birth family when there is open adoption.
Specialised services should also be available to the adopted child for support in settling in their new reality and to adapt to their new identity. Moreover, such services would support the child to explore and process any identity issues which come up at a later stage in their lives.
Support services should also be available to support the natural parents in understanding the implications of adoption and in processing such a reality. These services should also be a referral point when biological parents would like to connect again with their adopted child at a later stage in their lives to help them prepare for such a connection or to help them process the decision that this is not possible.
The ministry will be receiving feedback by email on [email protected], while the consultation document can be found on family.gov.mt. The public consultation will remain active until 31st December 2020.
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