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4.500 Children Expected Adopted after April 1 Because of New Family Code; 555 Children Already Registered

24 Chassa Newspaper, March 21, 2010, Lilyana Stefanova

After March 31 we expect adoption boom since all children, who have spent 6 months in social homes without being sought for by their parents, will be given adoption chance, announced Detelina Kotevska, Head of Child Protection Directorate near Social Support Agency. The procedure is regulated by the new Family Code, enforced on October 1, 2009.

Social Directorate Heads have already sent letters to parents of more than 4.500 children in social homes to inform them that the children can not be grown up there any longer. Such parents should appear either to take children back home or, in case this is not possible, to place children with their relatives or foster families. If they fail to do so, the children will be entered automatically in National Adoption Register.

Another Family Code stipulation has already given results: children, placed for life in social homes based on court order and children, who have spent more than 1 year in social home and were not sought for by their parents by end of December 2009, received chance to be adopted. 555 children have already been filed with the adoption register and 279 children have already got new parents. 363 children have been taken back by their families and 168 children have been placed with relatives or foster families.

The new Family Code gives us green light, the Adoption Councils have had 450 meetings and have taken 584 decisions over the last 4 months, explained Kotevska.

The number of prospective adoptive parents is still smaller than those of children waiting to be adopted. Latest data show that there are 2.674 adoptive parents and 2.765 children registered. Ms. Kotevska said that Bulgarian mentality was hard to be changed - most Bulgarian families wanted to adopt children under 3-year old, healthy and of Bulgarian origin. Such families would not adopt children of Roma background or with medical conditions.