On November 24, the Ministry of Welfare’s Department of Children and Family Policy, Latvia’s Central Authority for adoption, proposed legislation relating to hosting programs, and is in the process of drafting legislation related to intercountry adoption in Latvia to be proposed at a later date. U.S. Embassy Riga is in contact with the Latvian government to better understand how the bills may affect both hosting programs and intercountry adoptions. The proposed bill on hosting programs is an amendment to the Children’s Rights Protection Law, and if approved, is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2018. The Ministry noted concerns that some hosting agencies may not be following the Latvian Children’s Rights Inspectorate’s guidelines regarding the recommended minimum age for hosted children. The proposed bill seeks to raise the age of eligibility for hosting programs to children who reside in institutions and are over the age of 12.
The proposed bill focused on intercountry adoption is in the drafting phase and the Ministry has not yet provided a timeline of when they plan to submit it to Parliament for review. However, the Ministry explained that the bill seeks to limit intercountry adoption to children in two groups: children living in institutions, and children living in foster care that have a serious medical condition.
The Department will continue to engage the Government of Latvia on both pieces of legislation and will provide updates as available. Prospective adoptive parents who have additional questions about this legislation may wish to speak with their adoption service provider or contact U.S. Embassy Riga.
Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information on intercountry adoption in Latvia. For questions about this notice, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues at Adoption@state.gov.