Korean Ministry of Health & Welfare’s Special Act on Adoption to come into force August 2012

March 31, 2012

From the Korean Ministry of Health & Welfare:

Subject: The careful deliberation before child adoption and family court permit system is being introduced.

Adopted child will be given the status of foster child equal to biological child so that legal relationship with adoptive parents can be secured.

Ministry of Health and Welfare will prepare the whole amendment to the subordinate decree of the Special Act on Adoption with focus on the protection of rights of adopted children and make an advance notice from 9 Mar. for 20 days for its implementation in Aug.

The revised Special Act on Adoption (which was promulgated on 4 Aug. 2011 and will come into force on 5 Aug. 2012) puts priority on the protection of a child’s biological family and has introduced new systems such as the careful deliberation prior to adoption, the family court permit, the reinforcement of qualification requirements for adoptive parents, the granting of the status of foster child equal to biological child, etc in order to strengthen the nation’s responsibility for supervision and management over the overall adoption procedure.

※ Status of foster child equal to biological child: legal status equal to a biological child born from marriage acknowledged by civil law

Major details of the advance notice to be made this time require domestic adoption to be considered and pursued first for five months for children in need of protective care and biological parents of children to be adopted to receive sufficient counseling including information on support for child nurturing, etc by having a period of careful deliberation (7 days) before making a decision for adoption. 

Particularly, if a child to be adopted is aged 13 and older, detailed counseling for the child including the effect of adoption, etc shall be provided.

The adoption agency must examine criminal records of adoptive parents such as child abuse, sexual violence, etc and have adoptive parents complete the education and training for child nurturing before actual adoption.

Also, even after the adoption is completed, the adjustment of an adopted child and adoptive parents shall be checked and post-care such as counseling and education shall be provided. In this case, the obligation for confidentiality is stipulated in the law so that the adoption won’t be exposed against adoptive parents’ will. 

To provide the service described above, the obligation for refresher training for improvement of quality of adoption agency employees has been newly introduced.

Detailed standards for the extent of information subject to the request for adoption information disclosure and the request method and procedure, etc have been prepared in a bid to guarantee the access to adoption information by adoptees.

Types of documents to be submitted to the court for deliberation for the adoption permit are stated in the law as the family court permit system for domestic and inter-country adoption has been introduced.

However, the court’s adoption permit procedure will become specific when related Supreme Court rules are prepared because it is supposed to be finalized through established rules at the Supreme Court (Court Administration Office).

Ministry of Health and Welfare said that when the revised Enforcement Decrees and Rules of the Special Act on Adoption are prepared, it is expected that safety and rights of adopted children will be guaranteed in the adoption process and the foundation for them to be raised in a more stable environment legally and mentally will be secured. 

Access the full notice here.

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