The Department under the Adoption Act Cap 54 of the Laws of Zambia is also mandated with the responsibility of facilitating adoption services for children in need of care.
Adoption Services: It is important to note that Government’s policy is to ensure that every child is provided care and protection through a family system, and institutional care should be a measure of last resort. Therefore, the Ministry would like to encourage families who may wish to adopt a child/ren, to seek guidance from the Ministry (MCDSS) through the Department of Social Welfare for assistance.
The Adoption Process
- The applicants seek- guidance from the Department of Social Welfare at head office or from the District level.
- The applicant is then required to submit an application to the Commissioner for Juvenile Welfare (Director for Social Welfare Department) directly or through the respective District Social Welfare Office.
- In situations where an applicant wishes to adopt a child and requests the Department to match them with a child to foster pending adoption, they have to submit their application to the Commissioner for Juvenile Welfare through the District Social Welfare Office indicating the sex and age of the child to be identified.
- The District Social Welfare Officer together with the Child Care Facility will determine the children who are available for adoption depending on their individual circumstances and consequently forward Adoption application forms, Assessment report and other documentation to the Commissioner for Juvenile Welfare.
- The Commissioner for Juvenile Welfare’s Office will then review the application and if satisfied that the application meets the requirements, then an Effective Date of Notice is issued signifying that the application to adoption has been approved. (The Effective date of Notice gives an instruction to the District Social Welfare Office to supervise the case until it is disposed off by the Court). An Amendment to the Adoption Act of 1997 provides that that a foreign infant (i.e., aged 18 years and below) be in the care of the Applicant in Zambia for 12 months consecutively before filling in an application for adoption to Court). The District Social Welfare Officer will assign an officer to supervise the case, prepare the Guardian ad litem report and take the matter to court for granting of the Adoption Order.
- After the supervision period, an application would be made to Court to grant the Adoption Order. The Adoption Order is a legal document that authorises the Applicant to be the legal parent to the child. It is worth noting that the Courts have the final authority mandated to provide an Adoption Order, therefore, the Court may reject or approve an adoption application.
- Once the Adoption Order has been granted, the Office of the Commissioner for Juvenile Welfare is required to write to the Office of the Registrar General-National Registration for the adoption to be registered.
- Issuance of the Adoption Certificate by the Registrar General’s Office is the final part of the adoption Process.
Adoption Procedures /Requirements
i)Family Adoption (For Zambians within Zambia)
- Fill Application Forms to be accompanied by Assessment Report from DSWO.
- Attach copies of NRC or Passport (Certified) of person wishing to adopt.
- Photocopy of Child’s Birth Certificate (If any).
- Copy of Marriage Certificate (If married).
- Copy of Standard Consent Form (obtained from DSWO) signed by Magistrate.
ii)Family Adoption (For Zambians Living Abroad)
- a) Fill in application forms
- b) Home study report by a Social Worker in the country of residence
- c) Police Clearance from country of residence
- d) Bank statement to prove that person is not receiving Social
- e) Services or support from government in country of residence
- f)Copy of Passport (certified)
- g)Copy of residence permit
- h)Copy of consent form signed by legal guardian of the child
iii) Adoption Procedure for Non-Zambians
- a) Fill in application forms (available from Zambian Missions abroad)
or apply to:
The Commissioner for Juvenile Welfare
Department of Social Welfare
Ministry of Community Development and Social Services
P.O Box 31958
- b) Attach copies of Home Study Report by Approved Social Worker in country of Residence.
- c) Attach Police Clearance from country of residence
- d) Attach Bank statements to prove that applicant is not receiving social services or support from government.
- f) Include Certified copy of passport
- g) Include Medical Report from country of residence
- h) Attach Copy of recommendation from employer (if in employment) or from member of the public in good standing (with no criminal record) who has known the applicant for not less than five (5) years.
- All services are free from the Department Social Welfare.
- These procedures are in accordance with the Adoption Act CAP 54 of the Laws of Zambia.
You may also wish to know the following with regards to inter country adoptions;
The Office of the Commissioner for Juvenile Welfare, in the Department of Social Welfare, as the Central Authority for Inter Country Adoptions in Zambia will receive the adoption application.
Note that Zambia is a signatory to the Hague Convention and as such applicants are required to contact the Adoption Central Authority or approved Adoption Agency in their jurisdiction to facilitate for Article 5 which states that;
An adoption within the scope of the Convention shall take place only if the competent authorities of the receiving State –
- a) have determined that the prospective adoptive parents are eligible and suited to adopt;
- b) have ensured that the prospective adoptive parents have been counselled as may be necessary; and
- c) have determined that the child is or will be authorized to enter and reside permanently in that State.
The above information and processes help to establish safeguards to ensure that both domestic and Intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of the child and with respect for children’s fundamental rights as recognised by national and international law.
Details on Accreditation and Authorisation of Adoption Agencies click here.