Canadian Advocate for the Adoption of Children (CAFAC) is an inter-country adoption agency based in Manitoba. In the last 17 years they have placed more than 450 children with families in Canada, the largest number of those children being from Ethiopia.
While children wait to be matched to their adoptive parents, CAFAC houses them in their foster home in Addis Ababa, providing clothing, shelter, nutrition and medical care.
In the last few years, the time required to complete an inter-country adoption has grown significantly. As a result, children are remaining in the foster home for much longer periods of time, greatly increasing CAFAC's costs. Unfortunately, the fees that may be charged by an adoption agency are set by the Province of Manitoba. CAFAC has repeatedly asked to be allowed to increase fees to cover their rising costs. These requests have been consistently denied by the Ministry of Family Services. While the government did approve a fee increase in 2010, they did not allowed that increase to be applied retroactively to existing files, and the maximum fees are still thousands of dollars lower than those in other provinces. As a result, CAFAC is now in an untenable financial situation, and will cease operations on February 3 unless a solution can be found.
This is devastating for the dozens of families who are at various stages of the adoption process. Even worse is the potential fate of the children currently residing in the CAFAC foster home in Ethiopia. While CAFAC has made sure that the foster home will continue caring for the children until the end of February, it is unclear what will happen to them if CAFAC ceases operations.
We are calling on the Manitoba Ministry of Family Services and Labour to:
• allow CAFAC to charge fees commensurate with the current real world costs of completing the adoptions of these children
• allow CAFAC to obtain other sources of funding
• provide interim funding to, at the very least, secure the future of these children and their families.
Update: CAFAC is continuing to operate pending the implementation of a restructuring plan, but this will still require a change to the regulatory structure imposed by the government in order to be successful. Now is a crucial time!
Please share this petition with others, and please also take a moment to send an e-mail to the people who can make this happen. We need to exert maximum pressure right now to ensure a successful outcome.
The Hon. Jennifer Howard, Minister of Family Services and Labour
John Leggat, Assistant Deputy Minister of Family Services
The Hon. Gregory Selinger, Premier of Manitoba
Hugh McFadyen, Leader of the Official Opposition
The Hon. Jon Gerrard, Leader of the Liberal Party of Manitoba