This week Joint Council had the honor of presenting the Joint Council Vietnam Standards of Practice to the Vietnam Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and to the United States Embassy in Hanoi. We are proud to report that all parties expressed their appreciation for and support of the collective efforts of Joint Council, its Member Organizations and non-member organizations in addressing the ongoing concerns related to intercountry adoption. All parties uniformly stated that the Standards are a key element of elevating child welfare services to a level consistent with the tenants of the Hague Convention and the hopeful continuation of permanency and humanitarian services to the children and families of Vietnam.
During numerous meetings with MOLISA and MOJ, their desire to implement the Hague Convention was reconfirmed. Joint Council understands that the MOJ, as part of aligning practices with Hague standards, will permit the continuation of adoption licenses for agencies receiving Hague accreditation by the U.S. Central Authority. While the timing and other specifics remain uncertain, Joint Council and the U.S. Department of State have requested clarification. In addition, Joint Council has strongly advocated for the following.
- All adoptions in which a referral has been issued are permitted to continue through to the finalization of the adoption.
- Recognizing that a list of Hague accredited agencies has been announced by the U.S. Department of State via the Uniform Notification Date (February 29, 2008), agencies accredited as of April 1, 2008 (the date the Convention goes into full effect in the United States) be used to determine the continuation of licensure by the Vietnam MOJ.
Joint Council supports the MOJ and its continuation of licensure for Hague accredited agencies. Our support of this initiative is based on both principles and practicality. Given Joint Council’s long standing support of a functional implementation of the Convention in the U.S. and other countries, we encourage Vietnam’s movement toward that end. Given the expiration of the current MOA between the U.S. and Vietnam in less than six months (on September 1, 2008), this decision by the MOJ is a strong indicator of Vietnam’s serious intent to continue permanency and humanitarian services via a new or amended MOA.
While some may see the continuation of licensure for only Hague accredited agencies as overly restrictive, Joint Council fully recognizes this utilization of Convention principles as a means of ensuring both best practices and a key element for the continuation of finding permanent, safe and loving families for the children of Vietnam.
Please know that Joint Council will continue to engage all stakehulders and inform you of events as they unfuld.