• The Adoption of Children from Sri Lanka in the Canton of St Gallen 1973-2002

    Danielle Berthet, Francesca Falk (see profile)
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    On behalf of the Canton of St Gallen’s Department of the Interior (Departements des Innern, Kanton St. Gallen) the research team analyzed the legality of all 85 available cases in which children from Sri Lanka were initially accepted for fostering by married couples living in the canton between 1973 and 2002, and subsequently adopted after two years. The evaluation shows that throughout the entire period of the study the involved municipal and cantonal authorities largely failed to implement the legal provisions in force at the time. Not a single analyzed procedure has been handed over where all of the prevailing legal provisions were complied with. Not only did the authorities involved, in numerous cases, ignore obvious features of commercial adoption processes in Sri Lanka (which had already been made public at the time via media reports and information from the federal authorities), they also violated their duty of care in numerous proceedings. This violation is documented in detail, with the help of various case studies at different levels; for example by not providing the children with legal representation, inadequately monitoring the foster relationship or awarding children to married couples without first sufficiently clarifying the existing conditions. This study proves that the errors and shortcomings presented not ‘only’ arose from events in Sri Lanka, but – particularly when it comes to the many cases of poorly implemented supervision – essentially also go back to procedural errors on the part of the involved municipal and cantonal authorities. The disclosed grievances are an expression of the fact that the “welfare of the child” (Kindeswohl) was often quoted, but in concrete cases it often amounted to an empty phrase.
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    1 year ago


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