Vietnam: Government Adoption Reform

09/29/2006

The Vietnamese government does appear to be working on long-term reform to the adoption process, including eventual accession to the Hague Convention, but the near-term fixes to the immediate problems are more difficult. Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Maura Harty and Childen’s Issues office director Ellen Conway were in Vietnam on September 13-14, stressed the importance of complying with Vietnam’s current obligations under the U.S.-Vietnamese bilateral agreement, including real assessments of ASPs before granting licenses, some sort of enhanced oversight of independent facilitators, and the publication of transparent and uniform fee schedule as soon as possible. The Department of State also continues to stress to the Department of Intercountry Adoptions (DIA) the need for greater accountability in humanitarian assistance projects, which are prerequisite for DIA licensing. Many ASPs, including a number of JCICS members, have reported shakedowns and bribery sulicitations by Vietnamese government officials, and much of DOS’ emphasis with the DIA continues to be how they can work to combat this.

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