Greek parents wanting to adopt have to wait between four and six years to do so. Meanwhile, an estimated 2,800 children under the age of five live in the country’s state-run institutions.
The situation is in the interests of neither parents nor children.
Sophia Konstantellia, who has been a social worker for 30 years and is now in charge of all the state-run institutions explains:
“The time needed by the courts to take these very serious decisions is time that the babies have to wait for adoption in an institutions. This is time that we don’t need, and we don’t want, and we try to use foster families instead.”
The system is also hampered by a lack of transparency around private adoptions.
Quicker and better quality
Like any law, the draft bill wants to make the adoption process quicker, but without reducing the quality of the decisions made. The Labour Ministry, responsible for this area of policy, wants to set out clear rules and simplify the procedure.
Deputy Labour Minister, Theano Fotiou, said:
“We’re trying to set clear rules for all types of adoption. We also want to increase the number of social workers responsible for carrying out the compulsory social research, so that we can produce more social reports and reduce the current wait of four-six years drastically downwards to a year to 18 months.”
The increase in social workers won’t be achieved by means of a recruitment drive, but by re-assigning workers from other areas when necessary.
Another target of the draft bill is a centralised system of electronic records, both of children up for adoption and fostering, and of potential parents.