The Local Authorities
The new law allots many important tasks to the Social Welfare Services of the local authorities, whose involvement is no longer optional but mandatory.
In particular, making use of the local health units and collaborating with the accredited bodies as appropriate, they must:
- supply information on intercountry adoption and the relevant procedures, on the accredited bodies and their functions, and on other forms of solidarity towards juveniles in difficulty (for instance: remote support);
- ensure preparation for prospective adopters, helping them to understand their resources and the deep motivations for the request to adopt, as well as verifying together with them their real willingness to face the responsibilities they are taking on;
- gather information on the personal family and health situation of prospective adoptive parents, on their capacity to handle an intercountry adoption and on any special features of the juvenile(s) they might be able to take;
- collect any other factor that may help the juvenile court to assess their suitability for intercountry adoption.
The task of the services is thus essentially to help and explain. Assessing suitability is a matter for the judge.
After adoption too, the role of the Services may be important. Indeed, particularly initially, it is essential in order to help the new adoptive parents and the child with the little and not-so-little problems that may arise at the familiarization stage. Moreover, most countries of origin require, for at least a year, periodic reports on the child’s condition and acclimatization in the new family. It is therefore essential for the Services to follow the course of the new adoption for that period at least.
The local Services and accredited bodies are not in competition with each other; their collaboration is indispensable and is provided for by law. It is for the Regions to encourage the accrdited bodies and services to define operational protocols - and agreements where appropriate - among themselves (Article 39(a)(1) of the Law on Adoption).
In Italy there is no uniform organization of local Services. It is therefore not possible to supply a list here. To locate the closest Service to you, ask for information from the municipality where you reside.