Press Release
August 31, 2021

Senate approves bill simplifying adoption process for Filipino children

Filipinos seeking to adopt a child may soon have an easier time doing so due to the passage of a Senate bill seeking to simplify the process of adoption in the country.

Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1933 or the Domestic Administration Adoption Act was unanimously approved on third and final reading today. The measure is a consolidation of Senate Bill Nos. 1070 and 1337, originally authored by Senators Grace Poe and Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., respectively.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality and author and sponsor of SBN 1933, said the measure seeks to dispense with the "lengthy process associated with judicial adoption by allowing domestic adoptions via an administrative process."

"This bill will abbreviate the waiting time of adoptive parents to six to nine months. Instead of years, the waiting time will now only be as long as a pregnancy of a mother. This way, we will encourage more parents to adopt children who need loving homes and caring families, " Hontiveros said.

Simple, faster adoption process

The bill mandates the institution of a simpler and less-costly administrative process of adoption, to be managed by a new government body, the National Authority for Child Care (NACC), as per an amendment introduced by Senator Pia Cayetano.

Under the bill, the NACC will be tasked with handling all applications, petitions and all other matters involving alternative child care, in a manner that is "simple, expeditious, inexpensive, and will redound to the best interest of the child."

To ensure a speedy process of administrative domestic adoption, the bill sets specific periods of time on which the NACC, the Regional Alternative Child Care Offices (RACCOs), and other government offices should decide on petitions for adoption and facilitate documents. Decisions of the NACC may be later appealed to the Court of Appeals.

Procedural safeguards are included in the bill to protect the child's welfare, such as the requirement of a home study and case study by a social worker for each application for adoption. The bill also penalizes abuse and exploitation of children as well as simulation of birth - the fictitious registration of the birth of a child under a person not their biological parent.

Through these reforms, Hontiveros said that the average adoption process will take only 6-9 months, instead of two to three years which is the average length of time for current adoption proceedings in the country.

"According to statistics, only 60% of adoption cases in the country are finalized within one year to three years. Some cases take up to four years or longer. Families end up spending hundreds of thousands of pesos in these lengthy proceedings," Hontiveros said.

Encourage adoption by families

Since the adoption process under the bill will no longer be tedious and expensive, Hontiveros said she hopes that parents will no longer be discouraged from undergoing the legal process of adopting a child and will no longer undertake informal adoptions, which offer little protection to adopted children.

Poe agreed that the costly and tedious adoption proceedings in the country have discouraged many parents from pursuing adoption. By accelerating the process of adoption, she said that the bill will minimize costs, declog the courts and help the 4,943 Filipino children under the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) "who are still waiting for a permanent home."

Similarly, Revilla said that the aim of the bill is to ensure the best interest and welfare of children wanting to have their own permanent families in the soonest possible time. "Let us not deprive a loving home and family to young Filipinos who were abandoned or left behind due to reasons that are no fault of their own," he said.

"An act of goodness done in the legally correct way does not have to be so prohibitive and expensive. Every child is important. Every child needs a home," Hontiveros concluded.

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