Monday, May 31, 2010

New Law? --- Not so fast....

The new law was ratified by the Haitian Parliament. However in order for it to become law, it also has to be voted on and passed by the Haitian Senate. Currently, the senate does not have all its members and it does not have a quorum. Additionally, once it is passed by the Haitian Senate, it has to be published for a while in order for it to be passed into law. 

Thus, there really is not "new law"... not yet anyways...

Also, there is a bit of a scandal surrounding the "new law". While the "new law" was being written, composed, there were several meetings of all the stakeholders, including Creche Directors. ("Creche" is an orphanage that is licensed to process adoptions.) These directors proposed changes and these were edited into the proposed law. 

However, the wording of the "new law" that was ratified and passed by the Haitian Parliament did not have any of those changes and edits. The "new law" that was put forth to the parliament was exactly the wording that UNICEF had proposed! 

Hmmm... do you smell a rat? I sure do!

The Creche Directors were furious about this "fast one" being pulled... They are organizing to lobby the Senators (old, new, etc.) before the Senate will pass the law in an attempt to pass the law as it was written after the many editing sessions. So this is not done yet!

Also, the Haitian Parliament passed this "new law" in one of its emergency sessions where they were supposed to only look, discuss and ratify laws that were of emergency! 

According to the "new law" - couples who have been married at least 5 years and are older than 30, with no biological children are given preference to adopt in Haiti. 
- It mentions that biological children are no obstacle at one point in "the law" but at the beginning it states that the couple is to be without bio kids. (I still need to spend more time reading the text.)

-If the couple is not married but has lived together for at least 10 years, they can also adopt.

- Only divorced women and divorced men over the age of 35 without any biological children can adopt.

- I am not sure if dossiers can be sent to orphanages directly for matching or if the dossiers have to be sent directly to IBESR for matching? I need to find the time to sit down and read "the law".

- Orphanages will be financially penalized if they accept a child and do not report the child to IBESR within three days! That one is a biggy because the fine is a lot of money! Many orphanages have the capacity to accept children, but are not doing so because of financial implications. Who is financially supporting the orphanages and their kids? Only the big ones that have church sponsorship or sponsorship from other sources can survive and care for kids right now. IBESR or UNICEF do not give financial support to orphanages.

On a side note - I was told by one creche director that UNICEF showed up at her creche with armed guards in order to "inspect" her orphanage. Armed Guards? Really? COME ON NOW!