Why we request a Child Study report
A Child Study report is in the best interests of te tamaiti and helps determine whether an intercountry adoption is needed.
A Child Study report is required by law when te tamaiti is from a country that is a contracting party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention).
We want to maintain the standards of the Hague Convention for all intercountry adoptions, so we request a Child Study report from the relevant overseas authority for most adoption applications to the Family Court when te tamaiti and/or their parents are living overseas. For intercountry adoption applications to the Family Court, the Child Study report provides independent information about te tamaiti, their parents and extended family/whanau for the social worker’s report to the Family Court, and it assists us in making a recommendation about the merits and disadvantages of the adoption proposal from the cultural, social and legal perspective of the country te tamaiti is from.
Exceptions to this can be when te tamaiti is already a resident of New Zealand and lives here most of the time, or they are 18 years or older. We consult with the Intercountry Adoption Team (email NZCA_Adoptions@ot.ovt.nz) to discuss whether a Child Study report should be requested in these situations.
What a Child Study report includes
The Child Study report contains independent information about te tamaiti, their parents and family/whanau in their home country, including:
- adoptability, background, social environment and family history of te tamaiti
- medical history and any special needs of te tamaiti
- upbringing of te tamaiti and their ethnic, religious and cultural background
- wishes and options of te tamaiti (having regard to their age and degree of maturity)
- confirmation that te tamaiti, their parents and other persons whose consent is necessary for adoption, have been counselled and duly informed of the effects of intercountry adoption, and all required consents have been given freely and haven’t been induced by payment or compensation of any kind
- the view and recommendation of the Overseas Authority whether the proposed intercountry adoption is in the best interests of te tamaiti.
Preparing a Child Study report request
With the help of our supervisor and using information from the adoptive applicants’ interviews, we put together the request for a Child Study report.
Our introductory paragraph explains that this request for information has come from an intercountry adoption application.
We provide them with background to the proposal including:
- names of adoptive applicants and their address, ethnicity, New Zealand citizenship status, occupation
- name of te tamaiti, date of birth, place of birth, citizenship
- names of biological parents and their dates of birth, address, phone number, email
- if te tamaiti is not living with biological parents, current caregiver’s name, address, phone number, email
- background to the adoption proposal, including reasons and motivational factors for the proposed adoption, as identified by the adoptive applicants
- background on the adoptive applicants including:
- a brief summary of key points of the adoption application
- any relevant significant historical information
- a summary of documentary assessment to date
- an overview of their current lifestyle and relationship
- our view of the applicants’ eligibility and suitability to adopt the identified te tamaiti
- brief summary of information the applicants have provided about te tamaiti, their parents and family/whānau such as:
- their life and circumstances – previous and current
- their relationship with the applicants
- what te tamaiti knows of the proposal
- any other comments on the proposed adoption, such as the social worker’s views in relation to the best practice principles of the Hague Convention.
In our request we list specific questions to the overseas authority and ask for information about the application from te tamaiti, their parents and family/whānau in their home country, to help us determine our view and recommendation whether the proposed intercountry adoption is in the best interests of te tamaiti. Our questions should cover the following aspects:
- Reasons for the proposed adoption
- Biological parents and family/whānau of te tamaiti and their life and circumstances – previous and current
- The reasons why te tamaiti should not remain in care of their parents or current caregivers
- Relationship of te tamaiti with biological parents, primary caregivers, adoptive applicants and extended family/whanau
- Sibling relationship of te tamaiti
- Development and specific needs of te tamaiti
- Life and circumstances of te tamaiti, including their engagement in education and extracurricular activities, friends and other significant relationships, formal and informal supports
- Views and wishes of te tamaiti regarding the proposed adoption and their plans and hopes for the future (having regard to their age and degree of maturity)
- Any other factors considered relevant or important in this adoption proposal.
Sending the Child Study report request
Once we’ve completed drafting the Child Study request, we send it to our supervisor for review and they then refer it to the Intercountry Adoption Team for approval.
The Intercountry Adoption Team may further consult with us about the situation and request more amendments to the draft. Once it’s approved, the Intercountry Adoption Team will send our Child Study request to the relevant Overseas Authority in the home country of te tamaiti.
If there is no statutory child welfare authority in the home country of te tamaiti, the Intercountry Adoption Team will look for other options including International Social Service, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or other government agencies.
When the cost of the Child Study report is not funded by the country te tamaiti is from, the Oranga Tamariki Adoption Service meets the cost, as long as this is reasonable and the Child Study report is viewed as relevant to the case.
The adoptive applicants are required to meet translation costs if required for a report from a Hague Convention country. The Oranga Tamariki Adoption Service meets reasonable translation costs when the Child Study report is for the New Zealand Family Court.
Article 34 of the Hague Convention – Hague Convention website
Receiving the Child Study report
The Child Study report may take some time to complete and receive from the other country. We make sure adoptive applicants are aware of this and ask them to consider the impact of this on te tamaiti. If te tamaiti is in immediate need of care and protection, the family may need to make alternative interim care arrangements or notify the relevant authorities in the home country of te tamaiti.
For intercountry adoption applications to the Family Court, we advise the court of any delay in filing the social worker’s report due to requesting a Child Study report and provide the rationale for seeking a Child Study report.
Once the Intercountry Adoption Team receives the Child Study report, they forward it to us. We use the Child Study report to inform our recommendation about the best interests of te tamaiti in the proposed intercountry adoption. We attach a copy of the Child Study report to the social worker’s report to the Family Court. We do not give the Child Study report to the adoptive applicants as it is likely to contain sensitive personal information about te tamaiti and their biological parents.