NAAN comprises adoptive parents, child welfare officials, adoptees, youth in foster care and those who have aged out of the child welfare system. They recently appeared before a parliamentary committee studying how the federal government could support adoption.
"The federal government will only begin to take adoption-related issues seriously if they hear from the adoption community and understand that this is an issue that affects our votes," said Laura Eggertson, a board member of the Adoption Council of Canada and a NAAN member. "The federal government can play an important role by amending EI legislation, changing citizenship regulations, and collecting vital statistics about how many children are waiting in care across the country."
In late 2010 various adoption advocacy and child welfare groups across Canada came together to form a national advocacy working group to drive change for Canada's children. NAAN is a joint effort of the Canadian Coalition of Adoptive Families, the Adoption Council of Canada, the Adoption Council of Ontario, the New Brunswick Adoption Foundation, the Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, the Community Champions Network, and others.
NAAN listed the following child welfare issues, and actions which should be taken.
About 65,000 Canadian children are in care of the state; around 30,000 of them could be adopted. Although child welfare is under provincial jurisdiction, the federal government could also act to alleviate the crisis in the child welfare system.
The federal government should convene a meeting of provincial ministers responsible for children. They need to make it easy to adopt children across provincial borders and to find other ways to work together to improve the lives of these children.
The Employment Insurance Act gives 35 weeks of paid leave to adoptive parents; biological parents get 50 weeks. Adopted children need as much time as possible to bond with their adoptive parents.
Amend the Act so adoptive parents can take an extra 15 weeks' paid leave.
No-one is collecting national data on children in the child welfare system. As a result it is hard to plan and make suitable policies for children.
The federal department of Human Resources and Skills Development should start collecting the statistics, as it did in the past.
There are about 30,000 Canadian children waiting to be adopted, and many families who want to adopt.
The federal government should fund and launch a national campaign to make the public aware of adoption, the kids available and what they have to offer Canadian families.
The Citizenship Act currently prohibits children who are adopted abroad from passing on their Canadian citizenship to their children if they too are born abroad.
Amend the Act to rectify this situation.
There have been reports from other countries of some children being bought and sold for the purposes of intercountry adoption.
The federal government should enhance its activity in the area of intercountry adoption to ensure the safety and security of those children being adopted.
NAAN urged members of the adoption community to ask their candidates pointed questions at campaign meetings and by email, letters and phone calls. It suggested sending letters and email to party leaders seeking support for the above actions.
To find the candidates in a given electoral district, see Elections Canada's Voter Information Service.
Information about candidates in the five parties is at
Candidates in 2011 Canadian Federal Election.
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