The Government finalizes a regulation that had been pending since 2015, called to put an end to the limbo in which the management of the international adoption is immersed since then. Law 26/2015, of modification of the system of protection of childhood and adolescence, established that the Executive went on to centralize an important part of the competences, which up to now the communities had. But it referred to the approval of a regulation that would develop the normative change. Therefore, at this time neither the regional governments nor the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare have been able to take decisions on the opening or suspension of procedures with the countries or the accreditation of entities that act as intermediaries between families and places of origin of the children during the process, which can last from two to six years.
The Council of State issued an opinion last week endorsing the regulation, the last step was missing before raising it to the Council of Ministers, something that sources of the Ministry of Health estimated that may occur in the coming weeks, once incorporated the recommendations of the Council of State. If the elections are ahead of next April, as is discussed, the Government would have about two weeks before becoming operational. Once the regulation was approved by the Council of Ministers, it would be published in the BOE and would be applied three months later.
As of that moment, the countries of origin will have only one interlocutor, and not 17. And the families will be able to resort to accredited organizations from all the country, independently of the autonomous community in which they are located, not as until now (they could only go to those of your place of residence). In addition, it will be the ministry and not the communities that accredits these entities and who decides what number of files are sent to each country. The autonomies will continue to have competences in the matter, for example in the preparation of suitability certificates for adoptive families.
The intermediary organizations have been demanding the approval of the regulations for years, although they warn of possible "jamming" in the ministry if it is not provided with more personnel and specialized personnel, explains Susana Morales, director of the Familias de Colores organization.
From 2004 to 2017, international adoptions in Spain have fallen from 5,541 to 531. Carmen Cano, president of the Interagency Federation of Collaborating Entities of Adoption International, notes that the delay of the regulation is not the cause, but that in recent years "has not been able to start the process with any country because there was no authority to do so" , something that has limited the options of families.
Catalonia considered in 2015 that the regulatory change implied an invasion of its powers, given that its Civil Code contemplates the powers of the Generalitat in matters of intercountry adoption, and even considered submitting an appeal before the Constitutional Court. Finally, an agreement was reached in the Generalitat-State Bilateral Commission in 2016 whereby it was stated that the changes would apply "without prejudice to the competences in this area of the autonomous communities and the collaboration with them" (…) and "without prejudice to the full respect of the powers of the Generalitat regarding its special civil law" and "regarding the protection of minors".
The Catalan Institute for Reception and Adoption requested in its allegations to the regulation that the agreement be included in an additional provision. The Council of State he does not see it necessary. The report, to which this newspaper has had access, maintains that the administrative phase of the process, in which the accreditation of the intermediation bodies is integrated, the monitoring and control of its activity and "the other aspects" of the proposal, " it exceeds the scope of civil legislation, insofar as it does not affect, in any way, in parent-child relations between adopters and adopters. " Therefore, the text "does not violate the Catalan competition". The opinion urges the ministry, however, to include in the preamble and in the final provision an "express reference to the competence" that "the Constitution reserves to the State in terms of international relations."
The director of the Catalan Institute for Reception and Adoption, Agnès Russiñol, vindicates the powers of the Generalitat and insists on including in the regulations the agreement reached in 2016.