November 18, 2016
Modernizing the adoption system: Wildrose releases recommendations to guide new legislation
CALGARY, AB (November 18, 2016): In a step towards modernizing Alberta’s adoption system, Wildrose today unveiled three common sense solutions to guide new Wildrose private members’ legislation.
Wildrose consulted with adoptive families, adoption centres and other stakeholders to develop the recommendations in the report, which will also be the basis for a private members bill Wildrose Chestermere-Rocky View MLA Leela Aheer plans to present during the next legislative session.
The three recommendations are:
- Updating current advertising legislation to reflect the use of modern technologies, including allowing prospective adoptive families to post profiles online;
- Implementing a mandatory visit by an adoption professional for an adoptive family to ensure they are aware of all community resources available to them; and,
- Strengthening Public Health Postnatal Services and removing the mandatory use of Child and Family Services when a birth parent expresses interest in adoption.
“Adoption helps to create strong communities, and should be a rewarding experience for both the birth family and the adoptive family,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “The recommendations we are proposing remove barriers and make the system as accommodating as possible for all involved, which would make a positive impact on the adoption process.”
Wildrose Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper, who has personally gone through the adoption system with his wife, said these recommendations are common sense and important for families across the province.
“Empowering adoptive families with additional resources will only result in a more holistic approach to adoption in our province,” Cooper said. “At the end of the day, this is about finding children their forever homes, and creating stronger communities around those children.”
Adoption advocate Judith Kustermans, who has spent years navigating the adoption system, praised the recommendations.
“This is a common sense first step to modernizing our adoption system and will make a real positive difference in people’s lives,” Kustermans said. “For Albertans waiting patiently hoping to grow their families, or for those looking for better access to the system, these changes would make an immediate difference.”
Wildrose Shadow Human Services Minister Angela Pitt praised the work of her colleagues and said she hopes it receives support from all parties in the legislature.
“Alberta’s adoption system needs to change in order to meet modern challenges,” Pitt said. “We have the responsibility as legislators to listen and push for changes that are long overdue.”
You can view the report in its entirety by clicking here.
- Alberta’s legislation overseeing adoption advertising is from 30 years ago, when many of today’s technologies did not exist.
- Alberta’s adoption rate has steadily dropped from 854 adoptions in fiscal year 2008/2009 to 593 in 2014/2015 - a reduction of 30 per cent.
- The province of British Columbia currently has set an annual target rate of 600 adoptions per year. In 2015/16, British Columbia’s Ministry of Family and Child Development exceeded its adoption placement targets, finding homes for more than 600 children.