Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Tammuz 5764 - June 30, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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MK Ravitz Proposes Changes in Adoption Laws
By Eliezer Rauchberger

"A lack of faith has been created between families in very dire situations and [State] welfare services to the point that there are families who should receive temporary assistance and some sort of help and they do not turn to the social bureaus out of fear and dread their children may be taken away for adoption. This is a fact out in the field that families in need of the system's assistance refrain from taking this assistance," said MK Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz upon proposing legislation that would modify and improve the Adoption Law to place greater weight on the family's wishes regarding the placement of children given up for adoption.

Justice Minister Tomy Lapid, speaking for the government, opposed the initiative but agreed the government would support it on condition it was made into a parliamentary motion. Rabbi Ravitz accepted the suggestion and it was approved with a majority of 80 MKs with no opposition and was passed on to the Knesset Labor and Welfare Committee for further deliberation.

Lapid's main objection to the proposed law was that such a committee should not come between the social worker who submits the recommendation and the judge who approves or disapproves it.

Rabbi Ravitz claimed he knows of many families in crisis situations whose children the social workers chose to send to strangers for adoption rather than to family members who were willing to take them, which would allow the biological parents to maintain ongoing contact. Therefore he asked that the law stipulate that family members such as aunts and uncles who express a desire and willingness to adopt a child will receive preference. "Let us not be hasty in distancing the child from his family and his parents," said Rabbi Ravitz.

He also proposed that a public committee be set up to assess and control social workers' recommendations. According to the proposal the committee, to be comprised of a rov, or another religious figure in the case of a non-Jewish child, and a retired judge, would accompany and assess additional aspects beyond the work done by the social workers. "The issue of the child's future family must also be scrutinized. This, too, must be taken into consideration. True, we must always see to the good of the child first but the child's good is not the only factor. Therefore I propose there be a committee that would accompany the child and decide what type of solution be provided for this child."


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