Friday, March 17, 2017

How to Adopt a Child in Nunavut

R.A v. S.K. and D.K. 2017 NUCJ 5:

[12]  In Nunavut there are two ways of adopting a child. One way is in accordance with Inuit custom. This does not involve the Courts or any government agencies. If a child has been adopted in accordance with Inuit custom, an adoptive parent may apply for a certificate recognizing the adoption. This is done pursuant to the ACARA, by providing certain information to a Custom Adoption Commissioner and requesting a Certificate. The Commissioner reviews the information and if he or she is satisfied that the child was adopted in accordance with Inuit custom, a Certificate recognizing the adoption is issued. The Certificate is registered with the Nunavut Court of Justice and is enforced as an order of the Court. The Certificate facilitates the issuance of birth certificates and other similar documentation.

[13] An adoption may also proceed under the Adoption Act, SNWT, 1998, c 9 (Nu) [Adoption Act]. The Adoption Act provides for departmental adoptions (where the child is in the permanent care of social services), step-child adoptions (where the adopting parent is a step-parent) and private adoptions (adoptions arranged between the birth parents and the adoptive parents). The majority of adoptions done under the Adoption Act are private adoptions.

[14] A private adoption under the Adoption Act requires that the Director of Adoptions be notified of the intention to place a child for adoption and requires that a pre-placement report be completed before the child can be placed. The biological parents must provide written consent to the adoption, after having received advice as to the legal effects of an adoption. The consent may be revoked within a specified time period.

[15] If a child from Nunavut is being adopted outside of the Territory, the child cannot be removed from the Territory until there is a pre-placement report and the approval of the Director of Adoptions. If the child to be adopted is aboriginal, the appropriate aboriginal organization, Qikiqtani Inuit Association [QIA], Kivalliq Inuit Association [Kivalliq KIA] or Kitikmeot Inuit Association [Kitikmeot KIA]) must be notified and consulted. Once a child has been placed for adoption and has been with the adoptive parents for at least 6 months, a Family Union Report is done by an adoption worker. References and criminal record checks are part of the placement process. Application is then made to the Nunavut Court of Justice to grant the Adoption Order.

[16] One of the distinctions between an aboriginal custom adoption and an adoption under the Adoption Act is the requirement for home studies and other checks to ensure the suitability of the adoptive parents. 



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