Adoption and Kafala

Adoption is the formal, permanent transfer of parental rights to a family other than a child’s own and the formal assumption by that family of all parenting duties for the child. Where a child’s parents are living and their parental rights have not been terminated, they must provide informed consent for adoption. In some countries it is not culturally acceptable to give the parental rights to a non-family member, and therefore alternative long-term care options must be pursued e.g. kinship care. In some Islamic countries, the term ‘Kafala’ in Islamic law is used to describe a situation similar to adoption, but without the severing of family ties, the transference of inheritance rights, or the change of the child’s family name.   


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Faith to Action,

The story of Heartline’s transition from residential care to family care is told in this recently released Faith to Action case study. The case study details their experience through three stages of transition—learning, preparation and planning, and full transition—with transparency. It addresses common challenges for transitioning organizations, as well as the strategies Heartline took to overcome them.

UNICEF, Changing the Way We Care,

This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of the nature and characteristics of Kafalah in Eastern and Southern Africa and identify effective strategies to support Kafalah.

Changing the Way We Care,

This learning brief was developed as part of Changing the Way We Care's 2022 annual report and shares learning on family-based alternative care from Guatemala, Moldova, India and Kenya and links the reader to additional CTWWC resources on the topic.

Carmen Monico, Karen S. Rotabi-Casares, Kelley M. Bunkers,

This article discusses the evolution of adoption policy and practices in Guatemala from the 1990s to 2021.

UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies; UN Human Rights Special Procedures Special Rapporteurs Independent Experts and Working Groups ,

This joint statement was issued while the question of illegal intercountry adoptions is being raised in several countries, with an increasing number of adoptees discovering inconsistencies or errors in their adoption process, and that stories they had been told about their origins and the reasons for their adoptions were fake.

Changing the Way We Care (CTWWC),

This short document describes the process of ensuring Kafaalah is considered as a family-based alternative care option within Kenya and the work to promote best practice within the model. It describes the journey of developing a framework and standard operating procedures, beginning with the launch of the Kenyan Guidelines on the Alternative Family Care of Children in 2014. Changing the Way We Care worked with many partners and shares the learning on Kafaalah through this document. Changing the Way We Care is a global initiative implemented by Catholic Relief Services, Maestral International, and other global, national and local partners working together to change the way we care for children around the world.

Jakub Pawliczak,

This article discussed the proceedings for placement of children in foster care by foreign authorities introduced into Polish law. The available official data indicate that the British and German authorities are the most inclined to place children with Polish citizenship in foster care in their homeland.

Kyung-eun Lee,

South Korea experienced international scrutiny over its irregular intercountry adoption practices in the 1980s. However, it eventually came to be viewed as a model of transparent and efficient adoptions. This façade disguises an orphan adoption system that has become entrenched over the decades. Today, adoptees continue to lobby for their right to origins. This paper explores South Korea’s laws and policies, which nullified the rights of adoptees, and it calls for receiving countries to assume co-responsibility to restore these rights.

Harriet Ward, Lynne Moggach, Susan Tregeagle, Helen Trivedi,

This book presents new and vivid findings concerning the extensive vulnerability of this population of children at the point of entry to care. It also shows that there is much to learn at an international level from the experiences of those involved in mandatory face-to-face post adoption contact - a uniquely Australian policy. The book provides evidence which shows how continuing post-adoption contact was experienced by adoptees and their adoptive parents. This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access.

Alliance for Children Everywhere (ACE) Transition Partners,

In this video Simon Kanyembo, Director of Social Services at ACE Zambia, addresses the following questions: why child welfare organizations should prefer family-based care to institutional care and response to children who are abandoned or unable to be reintegrated.