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On hold for changes

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Monday, May 26, 2014

THE Social Welfare Ministry is working on changing adoption policy for the safety of Fijian children who may want to be adopted by overseas families.

An Australian couple and former Fiji citizen who hoped to adopt a Fijian child were told that this process had been put on hold.

Ashween Chandra said since he was from Fiji, he wanted to get a baby from the country but since authorities were taking long to update their legislation, he was thinking of adopting within Australia.

"This is the first time we want to apply, I have researched in Australia and have been told that they can't apply for Fiji adoptions at the moment," Mr Chandra said.

Minister for Women Doctor Jiko Luveni said this was the reason all international adoptions had been put on hold until the finalisation of the policy change.

"We need to have a memorandum of agreement not only with Australia, New Zealand but other overseas countries as well on the issue," Dr Luveni said.

"We need to work with their governments and set up agents that will actually monitor the way these children are being looked after. Children's safety is paramount especially when being taken to other countries and this is the whole reason we are doing this — for the safety and betterment of our Fijian children."

Dr Luveni said they were working with the Foreign Ministry on the issue and adoption processes would be opened again once the policy changes were finalised — but work would be done through the agents.

She said local adoptions processes were open and not an issue to be dealt with because they could easily monitor them.

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