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LCQ18: Adoption of children
     Following is a question by Dr Hon Chiang Lai-wan and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, in the Legislative Council today (March 21):


     Regarding adoption of children, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the existing numbers of (i) children waiting to be adopted (and among them, the number of those who are receiving residential child care services), and (ii) families waiting to adopt children; 

(2) of the respective numbers of children, in each of the past three years, adopted (i) by local families, (ii) by overseas families and (iii) through private arrangements (such as adoption by relatives); 

(3) whether it will review and enhance the existing procedure for adoption of children so as to shorten the time needed for the matching of adoptive children and prospective adoptive parents; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; 

(4) whether measures are in place to ensure that children receive proper care after being adopted; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and 

(5) whether it has provided special support to families which have adopted older or disabled children; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; whether it will strengthen the relevant support, in the hope that more families are willing to adopt such kind of children, and thus the waiting time for such kind of children to be adopted is shortened?


     My reply to the five parts of the question is as follows:

(1) The aim of adoption service is to find permanent and stable homes for children who cannot be taken care of by their parents, until they reach adulthood. Adoption arrangement in Hong Kong must be effected in accordance with the requirements of the Adoption Ordinance (Cap 290), with child's best interests as the paramount consideration in the adoption process. 

     As at end-December 2017, there were 73 children available for adoption, with all of them receiving residential child care services. The numbers of adoption applications by local families and overseas families being handled by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) are 160 and six respectively.

(2) In past three years, the respective numbers of children receiving local adoption, overseas adoption and privately-arranged adoption each year are as follows:
Type of Adoption Number of children
2015 2016 2017
Local adoption 70 58 55
Overseas adoption 18 13 7
Privately-arranged adoption 12 13 11

(3) Adoption is a legal process whereby the rights and responsibilities over a child, aged under 18 and unmarried, are permanently transferred from the birth parents to the adoptive parents.  Adoption arrangement in Hong Kong must be effected in accordance with the statutory requirements of the Adoption Ordinance (Cap 290), with its application procedure, from preliminary assessment to home study investigation and the supervision over the placement period, to be handled with caution, so as to ensure that the adoption applicants are suitable to adopt and all the adoption arrangements made are in the child’s best interests. Since the aforementioned adoption procedure has to satisfy the statutory requirements and/or actual needs, we do not have any plan to shorten the time of the adoption procedure.

(4) To ensure that adoptive children could receive proper care, the SWD would conduct in-depth home study investigation and assessment for all adoption applications, so as to ensure that the applicants are suitable to adopt. In matching the child with the prospective adoptive families, the SWD would give due consideration to the capabilities of the prospective adoptive families in meeting the needs and development of the adoptive child. When the prospective adoptive parents are matched with a child, they would be required to visit the child so as to understand the child's daily routine, and acquaint themselves with the knowledge and skills in looking after the child. If the progress is smooth, the SWD will arrange the child for day leave or overnight stay with the adoptive family where necessary for preparation of the placement period which will last for not less than six months consecutively. During the placement period, social workers will regularly keep in view and assess the living condition of the adoptive home and the child and, after the placement period has lasted for not less than six months consecutively, submit a comprehensive report with recommendations to the Court in respect of the adoption application. The Court will examine each adoption application and grant an Adoption Order only after ascertaining that the adoption is in the best interests of the child.

(5) The SWD has been committed to look for suitable adoptive families for children with special needs (e.g. older or disabled children) so that they could be properly taken care of in a nurturing family. In the process of searching and matching suitable adoptive families, the SWD would take into account whether the prospective adoptive families could properly take care of the special needs and development of the adoptive children. If the adoptive parents encounter any difficulties in taking care of the adoptive children with special needs, they could receive appropriate support through relevant service organisations (e.g. rehabilitation service organisations). Apart from encouraging suitable prospective adoptive parents to consider adopting children with special needs, the SWD has been collaborating with the three adoption agencies accredited by the Director of Social Welfare to identify suitable overseas adoptive families for those children with special needs who could not be matched with any suitable local adoptive families.
Ends/Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Issued at HKT 13:40
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