Duties and Organisation of the Finnish Adoption Board
The Adoption Board has an adoption permission section, international section and a plenary. Finnish Government appoints the Chairman of the Board, Deputy Chairman of the Board, members and deputy members for a maximum term of five years at a time.
The Chairman of the Board, the Deputy Chairman of the Board and the secretary are officials working for Valvira. Decisions are made by the board on the basis of the secretary's presentation.
Adoption permission section
The adoption permission section is responsible for granting domestic as well as international adoptions, changing the terms of an adoption and extending the validity of an adoption. The adoption permission section can also revoke granted adoption permission, for example, if there is a significant change in the applicant’s circumstances so that the adoption would not be in the best interests of the child. In addition, notifications about changes in an applicant’s circumstances are handled by the adoption permission section.
Experts in the child’s growth and development, child welfare and adoption counselling as well as medical experts are represented in the adoption permission section. The section also includes a member from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Valvira. The permission section has six members and a chairman. It can also convene with fewer members when, in addition to the chairman, experts in child welfare or adoption counselling are present.
Applications without complicated issues are handled with fewer members present. However, the application is always handled with all members present if the written report on the provision of adoption counselling gives rise to concerns or the applicant has a chronic illness which needs medical attention. This is also the case when the application as a whole is not straightforward in view of the board’s past practice.
The members of the board must prepare for the meeting, i.e. read the applications beforehand. This takes time.
Section of international matters
The section of international matters handles central authority tasks. It gives expert statements to courts of law, gathers and maintains information about foreign legislation for adoption and the international adoption service, grants licenses for international adoption service, grants licences to service providers for cooperation with foreign service providers and supervises the operation of the service providers.
Experts of child welfare, practical level of international adoption and legal matters of international adoption are represented in the section of international matters. In addition, there are members from the Finnish Immigration service, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health at the section.
The board also has a plenum which monitors development in adoption matters and launches initiatives regarding adoption. Members of all sections are present at the plenum. A necessary number of officials and members representing organisations related to the area of operation of the adoption board are appointed for the plenum. Other members can also be appointed if necessary.