Ukraine: New Law transferring authority over adoptions to the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports

1/9/05

The following is an announcement from the US Embassy in Ukraine:

On December 20, 2005, President Yushchenko signed the law transferring authority over adoptions from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports. This law came into effect on December 22, 2005, upon its publication in Parliament”s official newspaper “Holos Ukrainy”.

According to the new law, the Family Code of Ukraine will be amended to give authority over domestic and international adoptions to the Ministry for Family, Youth and Sports. The new central authority will be called the State Department for Adoption and Protection of Children, under the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports.

According to information from the National Adoption Center (NAC), although the NAC under the Ministry of Education has not yet been dissolved, the Ukrainian Supreme Court has determined that the NAC no longer has legal authority to process adoptions. This decision effectively creates a processing gap, with no Ukrainian ministries’ having the authority to handle adoptions at this time.

The Embassy has raised the U.S. Government’s concern about the sudden stoppage of adoption processing and has asked the Government of Ukraine to take steps so that families already in Ukraine can conclude their adoptions and return home. Although officials at the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports have indicated that they wish to find an interim solution for the families caught in the balance, any such resolution will likely not be approved until mid-January of 2006, after the Ukrainian holidays. (All Ukrainian governmental organizations will be closed from January 1 to January 10, 2006, for the New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays.)

The Embassy also has asked for clarification on the status of the referral appointments that the NAC had scheduled for January 2006. As soon as the Ukrainian authorities respond, the Embassy will issue a follow-up notice with that updated information. Please monitor the Embassy’s web page for the current status of adoption processing in Ukraine: http://kiev.usembassy.gov/.

This is a follow-up to our December 28 notice regarding the sudden stoppage of adoption processing in Ukraine. As we reported earlier, on December 22, 2005 the National Adoption Center lost its legal authority to process adoptions as a result of the new law transferring authority over adoptions from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports.

Despite numerous representations by the U.S. Government at many levels to the Government of Ukraine, an interim resolution to address families caught in various stages of the adoption process in Ukraine has not yet been approved. According to recent communication from senior Ukrainian government officials, an interim resolution requires a change in legislation whose processing may take up to one month.

The NAC advised that they will provide an official letter explaining the current situation to all adopting parents. The NAC further advised that it will then contact all prospective parents who are registered with the NAC within ten days after the legislative changes are approved.

American prospective adoptive families who have January appointments should not travel to Ukraine until the Government of Ukraine officially confirms that you can complete the adoption process and return to the U.S. with your children in a timely manner.

The Embassy will continue to track this and other adoption-related issues closely, and provide updates as appropriate. American adopting parents who are currently in Ukraine and are affected by this abrupt closure are requested to e-mail the Embassy at adoptionskiev@state.gov and provide your points of contact.

Joint Council will continue to follow this situation very closely. We will post new developments and information as it becomes available.

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