Cambodia

March 1, 2010

Notice: Update of status of adoptions in Cambodia

On December 3, 2009, new legislation on intercountry adoption was signed into law in Cambodia. The new law seeks to create a country-wide comprehensive child welfare system and an intercountry adoption process in compliance with the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention (the Convention) to which Cambodia is a party. This is an important first step in Cambodia's expressed commitment to reform its child welfare system and meet its treaty obligations under the Convention. In order to be able to establish necessary regulations and standard procedures to implement the new Law on Intercountry Adoption, the Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation has announced a temporary suspension of the receipt of all new intercountry adoption dossiers until March 2011. This will not adversely affect any U.S cases since no new cases have been submitted in the last several years.

At this time, it is not possible to estimate when adoptions will resume between the United States and Cambodia. In order to implement the new law in full, Cambodia will first need to establish the necessary government structures to support it, draft and finalize prakas (Ministerial orders/regulations), and determine and fill staffing and training needs. Issues related to transparency in fees, procedural safeguards, determination of a child's eligibility for intercountry adoption, criminal penalties and the creation of a strategy to formalize and strengthen the domestic adoption system will all need to be addressed effectively.

The United States continues to support Cambodia's desire to create a child welfare system and an intercountry adoption process that fulfills its obligations under the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention and welcomes Cambodia's efforts to fully implement the new law on intercountry adoption.

Updated information will be provided on www.adoption.state.gov as it becomes available.