Parliament passes Children Bill; restricts guardianship to nationals

DSC 6065Parliament has resolved to stop foreigners from accessing guardianship of Ugandan children.
In a sitting at Parliament today, Wednesday 2nd March 2, 2016, Hon. Alice Alaso raised the matter during the second reading of the Children Amendment Bill, 2015. She cited a problem with tracking children who had been taken for guardianship by foreigners.
“Numerous reports show that most of these children who are taken up by foreigners as guardians were hard to trace because they are usually taken out of the country,” Alaso said.
Hon. Bernard Atiku said that it was the responsibility of the nation to care of its children. “We should not let foreigners come and take our children away yet we can take care of them,” he said.
Hon. Muruli Mukasa said the guardianship role had been misused by many of these foreigners which made it hard to track the children who are taken out of the country.
 “Guardianship has been used on so many fronts by foreigners as a shortcut to adoption,” he added. “The people who are granted guardianship change the status to adoption when they reach their respective countries.”
Hon. Joseph Ssewungu on the other hand suggested that instead of banning foreigners from acquiring guardianship, the laws covering the process should be improved.
“The law can be adjusted to improve monitoring of the children under guardianship to providing an update every two years or less,” Hon. Ssewungu suggested.
Hon. Kasiano Wadri also argued that there is laxity in the system concerning follow up. “We lack the ability to apply these laws and that is why such issues arise,” He said.
Hon. Fox Odoi, to the contrary, said that the state should not limit the chances of guardianship for Ugandan children. “There are so many situations where many of these children are totally abandoned by their families with no chance of being helped by a national and their only ray of hope is a foreigner who is willing to take them on,” Hon. Odoi stressed.
Prior to passing the amended bill, the House resolved on the adjustment allowing only nationals to claim guardianship



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