The long-awaited adoption law was passed on November 3, 2020, by the Parliament, after receiving an unanimous vote. The legislative initiative was substantially amended by the MPs Oana Bizgan and Roxana Minzatu, in order to ensure and strengthen the transition to a permanent family for the children in the protection system so the period children spend in the system to be really a temporary one.
“I am tremendously happy that we managed to pass this law, which is really for the benefit of children. We have been working for more than two years for this initiative to turn into reality, and for the children in the protection system to have, in a concrete way, the chance for a family. The changes brought by this new law have been awaited for years by the children in the protection system but also by the parents who want to adopt and I am glad that we can tell them that we have finally succeeded. ” declared independent MP Oana Bizgan.
“I confess that the parents looking for the child to give their love to are the ones who motivated me to get involved in debating and completing the adoption law. Starting from a very good bill, initiated by the Government in 2018, I worked, together with Oana Bizgan, on a series of amendments that are found in this form of the law. All I want is that, by applying this law, children, all children, including those we call “hard to place”, to find their parents much faster and to have a family in which to grow up beautifully and safely. ” said, in her turn, the PSD MP Roxana Minzatu.
Among the changes proposed by the two MPs is the elimination of the double search for extended family up to the fourth degree – both for establishing the protection measure and approving the adoption. Relatives will be searched only once and only up to the third degree, thus shortening the periods when children remain trapped in the protection system. For the first time, children declared adoptable will be able to benefit from the chance at a family even after reaching the age of 14, remaining adoptable until adulthood. For adoptive parents, the measures are extremely beneficial: the period of validity of the adopter certificate is extended from 2 to 5 years, the accommodation leave and the allowances they receive are aligned with the benefits enjoyed by any biological parent, and the excessive bureaucracy is considerably reduced, precisely to emphasize the quality of the act of adoption and to humanize the whole process that, we must remember, serves human lives and not ‘folders’.
“The voted bill brings important changes for children in the protection system, but also for parents who want to adopt. We turn our attention to children, who live and feel like each of us and need care, patience and love. These children are souls, lives, destinies and we must treat them accordingly, not as “cases” that need to be resolved. We are also taking a step towards reducing bureaucracy and increasing efficiency in the child protection system. Children spending unacceptable long time in the protective system is the result of cumbersome bureaucratic procedures, which ultimately do not bring real benefits to children. Reducing bureaucracy means shortening the time from the moment the child enters the system until he/she is declared adoptable and finally adopted. This means that every child will have the prerequisites to be adopted as soon as possible and will have a better chance of integration and adaptation in the new family, and this is just one of the ways in which the changes will be applied. ” explained Oana Bizgan.
Currently, about 50,000 children live in the child protection system, according to official data released by the Authority for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Children and Adoptions. The law is going to go to the President to be promulgated.
Oana Bîzgan is a Member of the Romanian Parliament on the Gender Equality Committee, one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, a Vital Voices fellow and an ambassador for the international Girl2Leader Campaign, run by the Women Political Leaders Forum. She fights for women’s rights, children’s rights and global social justice.
As a progressive and an independent MP in the General Assembly, she managed to propose and pass fourteen new bills regarding social justice and equal opportunities such as the first Sexual Offenders Register in Romania, the first Street Harassment law and increased penalties for sexual crimes and trafficking in persons. With every bill she proposed, Oana aimed to transform the UN Sustainable Development Goals in concrete legislative actions.
She holds the strong conviction that equal opportunities are the real levers for the sustainable social and economic development of every society, particularly in the midst of the digital revolution we are undergoing. She wants to leverage the power of communities to change people lives for the better, as an MP and furthermore. Her vision is to empower every stakeholder to play hers/his part in ensuring social justice and invest strategically in building up the society we all want to live in.