This Wednesday, October 20, the Reform adoption bill arrives in the Senate. Defended in the National Assembly by the LREM deputy of Isère Monique Limon, then largely unraveled by the Senate social affairs committee, it has been reduced to its simplest expression. Its flagship provision is to open adoption to unmarried couples. Other measures include strengthening the training of professionals, as well as ending individual international adoptions without intermediaries, which are already rare.
“However, this in no way constitutes a real reform”, regrets Anne Royal, President of Childhood and Adoption Families (EFA). Like many specialists, she believes that the stated ambition of the initial text has not materialized. The aim was to make adoptable children in France and potential parents better meet. And to respond to two emergencies: the situation of children who stay too long in the corridors of child welfare while waiting for an illusory return to their families, and that of disabled children who cannot find parents. .
The law on “parental neglect” still not applied everywhere
As for the former, who receive very little news from their families, MP Monique Limon wanted to promote simple adoption. This consists in adding the adoptive filiation to the biological filiation. Clearly, the child keeps his birth name, his biological parents are mentioned in his papers, even if it is the adoptive family that exercises parental authority. But lawyers stress that this possibility already existed. “It is only a simple reminder and does not create any positive law”, considers magistrate Marie-Christine Le Boursicot.
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The problem of government wards who stay too long in hostels is indeed not new. Already, the 2016 law had created a “parental abandonment” procedure. “The idea was to say that the parents whose children are placed and who are content to send a postcard a year without ever coming to see it, in fact, have abandoned it and that the child must, therefore, be able to be adopted “, recalls Anne Royal, who concludes: “It would have been more interesting to apply the laws that already exist. “
Several departments have still not created committees responsible for evaluating cases. In addition, she continues, social workers and magistrates are not always sufficiently trained. “Too often, for lack of knowledge of the various statutes, children are placed under the supervision of the department and not under the status of ward of the State, which alone allows them to be adopted. “
In addition, there is the critical situation of so-called “special needs” children. It is indeed very rare today to welcome a healthy infant, as the figures from the National Child Protection Observatory underline. Most adoptable children are, in fact, much older, have siblings, or are carriers of disease. Gold “This profile is not the one that is sought a priori by most parents”, recognizes Charlotte Girault, Director General of the French Adoption Agency (AFA).
No national escalation of adoption requests
Volunteers do exist but can in theory adopt only in their department. Their files therefore do not “match” that of adoptable children elsewhere. Since 2013, the AFA has offered to pilot, on an experimental basis, a protocol in order to bring up the files of each other throughout the territory. Several times postponed, the project has been deployed since the summer. 26 departments now accept to pass this type of request through the AFA.
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However, this protocol will not be extended by this law. Indeed, the proposal provides for giving this synthesis to a future structure to be created by the Child Protection Bill. However, this has still not been voted on and the creation of this organization, far from being a new idea, has been a sea serpent endlessly postponed since 2016. “All this passing time is nevertheless precious for these children awaiting a family”, deplores Charlotte Girault.
Adoption in numbers
As of December 31, 2019, 10,263 families were approved for adoption. They are 3,248 children under the status of ward of the State, and among them 480 babies born under secrecy.
The same year, 706 wards of the state were adopted and 421 children were adopted
In 2018, there were 2,922 children adopted in the full form and 9,551 in the simple form (of which 60% and 90% respectively were adopted by the spouse of their parent).