Adoption policy in the pipeline
The government has announced a new policy framework defining a specific mechanism in which orphanage homes will be phased out in the next two years.
The mechanism seeks to have orphans integrated into economically stable families and those willing to adopt them.
Damien Ngabo, the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the National Commission for Children told The New Times, that the orphans will be integrated according to their age and individual needs.
“Our adoption policy stipulates that we shall start with those who are already above 18 years of age plus those from poor families,” he said.
Ngabo explained that a few children, mostly those with special health needs and other types of persistent vulnerability, will be put under special facilities that suit their conditions.
“We want to avoid moving a child from an orphanage home to a place with similar or worse conditions. That’s why those who will remain should have better living conditions,” he said.
Ngabo explained that the number of orphans has gradually reduced since most are those orphaned by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Statistics show that most have grown up and subsequently left the orphanages.
In 2010, Rwandan children living in orphanages were estimated to be around 4000 but a recent survey conducted by a British NGO, Hope and Homes for Rwanda, indicates that 3,200 were in 34 orphanages.
To adopt an orphan, one needs to apply to the National Commission for Children, detailing particulars and how they would take care of the child; any court can then give you the go-ahead to adopt the child.
It takes between three to six months depending on how fast one can fulfil the requirements.
Mark Jacobs is an American who recently adopted a Rwandan baby who had been abandoned at Rwamagana District Hospital in March 2011. He finds the adoption policy a good way of helping vulnerable children.
“This is a positive development because it is necessary to consider those children who are not fortunate enough to enjoy the company of their parents,” he observed.
Contact email: sam.nkurunziza[at]newtimes.co.rw