The following are guidelines from the Child Development Agency of Jamaica regarding the adoption of children in Jamaica. The pre-adoption form may be downloaded here.
Who is eligible to adopt?
Under Jamaican Law, anyone over the age of 25 may adopt a child who is under 18 years of age. There is also a provision for 18 year olds to legally adopt members of their own family.
- Fill out the Pre-Adoption Form and return it to the Adoption Board by post or in person.
- The Pre- Adoption Form is then reviewed by the Boards Office. An applicant who is considered suitable in the initial review is provided with an application form, a medical form and a listing of documents required. N.B. There is usually a period of four weeks for a response to be given from the time the Pre- Adoption Form is received in the Office.
- On completion and return of all forms and documents requested, they are reviewed and satisfactory cases are assigned to our Assisstant Adoption Officers for further processing.
- Parents of children to be adopted and their consent to the adoption is requested.
- An Home Study/ assessment is done of the applicant in the form of home visits, interviews, counseling etc. A written Home Study is completed at the end of the process. The applicant who lives abroad should submit a home study report.
- The applicant is informed of his/her case status after the above is completed, this usually takes four weeks.
Identification of Child to Be Adopted
- The Adoption Board assists applicants to identify children who are available for adoption. In general an overseas applicant requires a licence and he/she may come to Jamaica to decide on an available child.
- Before an adoption is completed, locally placed children and their prospective adoptive parents are supervised by local Social Worker’s from the Adoption Board’s Office for a period between 3 and 4 months, e.g. Licence, Jamaicans abroad.
- Cases that appear to be satisfactory are submitted to a review committee of the Adoption Board.
- An applicant approved by the committee is required to make a formal application to the court. The applicant’s case worker will provide guidance on this process.
- A court hearing is arranged for their parish of residence.
- The applicant and the child to be adopted are required to meet with their caseworker for a briefing on a day prior to the court hearing.
- The applicant and the child to be adopted locally are required to attend the Court hearing. The Licence applicant is not usually required to attend court; however the court can request his/her attendance. The child is always required to attend court and he/she can be accompanied by a guardian.
It is at the Court hearing that an application for a Licence/Adoption Order is heard and it is here that it can be granted or denied.