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General Assembly - 16 dicembre 1981
Resolution A36r167

16 December 1981

Draft Declaration on Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally

The General Assembly,

Recalling Economic and Social Council resolution 1981/18 of 6 May 1981 entitled "Draft declaration on social and legal principles relating to adoption and foster placement of children nationally and internationally", whereby the Council requested the General Assembly to consider at its thirty-sixth session the draft declaration which is annexed to the present resolution so that the further action proposed in Council resolution 1979/28 may proceed,

Bearing in mind the report of the Secretary-General on views of Member States on the text of the draft declaration,

Convinced that adoption of the draft declaration will promote the well-being of children with special needs,

1. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its thirty-seventh session an item entitled "Draft declaration on social and legal principles relating to the protection and welfare of children, with special reference to foster placement and adoption nationally and internationally" with a view to the possible allocation of the item to the Sixth Committee;

2. Decides in order that the further action proposed in Economic and Social Council resolution 1979/28 may proceed, that appropriate measures be taken at its thirty-seventh session to finalize the draft declaration.

ANNEX Draft Declaration on Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally A. General family and child welfare

1. It is in the best interest of every nation to give a high priority to family and child welfare as it plans for the use and further development of national resources.

2. It is recognized that the best child welfare is good family welfare.

3. It is affirmed that the first priority for a child is to be cared for by the biological parents. Other family members should be the first alternative if the biological parents cannot provide care for the child.

4. When biological family care is unavailable or inappropriate, substitute family care should be considered.

5. It must be recognized that there are parents who cannot bring up their own children and that the children's rights to security, affection and continuing care should be of greatest importance.

6. Providers of service should have professional social work training in family and child welfare.

B. Foster placement

7. Every child has a right to a family. Children who cannot remain in their biological family should be placed in foster family or adoption in preference to institutions, unless the child's particular needs can best be met in a specialized facility.

8. Children for whom institutional care was formerly regarded as the only option should be placed with families, both foster and adoptive.

9. Provision should be made for regulation of placement of children outside of their biological family.

10. Foster family care should be a planned, temporary service as a bridge to permanency for a child, which includes but is not limited to restoration to the biological family or adoption.

11. Planning for the child in foster family care must involve the biological family, foster family and child, if appropriate, under the auspices of a competent authorized agency.

C. Adoption

12. The primary purpose of adoption is to provide a permanent family for a child who cannot be cared for by his/her biological family.

13. Adoption procedures should be flexible enough to meet the child's needs in various situations.

14. In considering possible adoption placements, those responsible for the child should select the most appropriate environment for the particular child concerned.

15. Sufficient time and adequate counselling should be given to the biological parents to enable them to reach a decision on their child's future, recognizing that it is in the child's best interest to reach this decision as early as possible.

16. Legislation and services should ensure that the child becomes an integral part of the adoptive family.

17. The need of adult adoptees to know about their background should be recognized.

18. There should be recognition, in the law, of traditional adoption within the family, to ensure the protection of the children and to assist the family by counselling.

19. Governments should determine the adequacy of their national services for children, and recognize those children, whose needs are not being met by existing services. For some of these children, intercountry adoption may be considered as a suitable means of providing them with a family.

20. When intercountry adoption is considered, policy and legislation should be established to protect the children concerned.

21. In each country, placements should be made through authorized agencies competent to deal with intercountry adoption services and providing the same safeguards and standards as are applied in national adoptions.

22. Proxy adoptions are not acceptable, in consideration of the child's legal and social safety.

23. No adoption plan should be considered before it has been established that the child is legally free for adoption and the pertinent documents necessary to complete the adoption are available. All necessary consents must be in a form which is legally valid in both countries. It must be definitely established that the child will be able to immigrate into the country of the prospective adopters and can subsequently obtain their nationality.

24. In intercountry adoption, legal validation of the adoption should be assured in the countries involved.

25. The child should at all times have a name, nationality and legal guardian.

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