Abandonment Process Step 3 -- Legal Proceedings

Within 1-2 working days of the child's entrance into protective custody, the initial evaluation reports are presented to the Family Advocate (Defensor de Familia). He/she will then open an investigation with a Resolución (resolution). This is often called the process of Reestablecimiento de Derechos (Reestablishment of Rights). The Investigation assumes that the child's rights have been violated (Vulneración de Derechos) for _____ reasons (ie. abandonment, neglect, abuse, etc.). The end goal is to ensure that the child's rights, as defined by the Law 1098 of 2006, can be reestablished. These rights include the "right to a family and to not be separated from it," and the child's right to food, education, clothing, protection, etc.

The ICBF official I spoke with explained that a social worker is then assigned to the case. There is always a home visit, when the child's parents are known. If the parents need help to improve their parenting, then they are invited to participate in classes. If the parents successfully complete the classes and make the necessary changes in their lives that can ensure that the child's rights are guaranteed, then the Defensor can move to have the child reunited with the family. In this case, there is a follow-up period of 4 months.

If it is determined that neither biological parent would be able to guarantee the child's rights, then ICBF will attempt to find a member of the extended family or sometimes a family friend that can guarantee those rights.

This process of finding an appropriate home for the child should take no longer than 4 months, with an option to extend for 4 additional months. [This is what I was told, however, this does not explain to me why in many of the cases I have translated the process took far longer. When I asked the official, she just kept saying, 'The law says no longer than 8 months.' She finally admitted that it can take much longer, but there was no explanation for this.]

If no one can be found that can guarantee the child's rights, then the Defensor will move to make a change to the resolution. This change will declare the child in a state of adoptability. This is known as the Resolución de Adoptabilidad. This Resolution can be appealed for a certain period of time. If someone comes forward to oppose it, the process will be extended while a further investigation is pursued. If no one comes forward to oppose the decree, then once the time expires, it is declared law.

With the Resolución de Adoptabilidad set in stone, ICBF staff will being to pursue the preparation of the documents needed for the adoption. Read more about that process tomorrow in Step 4. FYI, all referrals will include a copy of this Resolution.

**** One important distinction to be made here is that children that are voluntarily relinquished at birth go through a slightly different and shorter process.


Anonymous said…
I'm playing catch up on your blog today, so my question is about a month late. :o( I was wondering about the last comment you made on this post regarding children voluntarily relinquished at birth. Did the worker you interviewed mention exactly what that distinction in the process was? I am an adult, Colombian adoptee relinquished at birth to a casa privada...over 30 years ago. Maybe ICBF wasn't involved in situations such as these back then. Just curious. Thanks!
Colombian Mommy said…
The process for voluntary relinquishment is just faster. The papers must still be submitted to the court and there is still an inquiry. I am not sure what the process was like 30 years ago, but I assume that there was still a court process and you should be able to access those court documents.

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