New Bill seeks to allow men to adopt children

The law sets strict requirements for those seeking to adopt children. [iStockphoto]

Male guardians will be allowed to adopt children should a Bill before Parliament be adopted into law.

The proposal seeks to delete a provision in the Children’s Act that hinders sole men, unless they are blood relatives, from adopting a child.

The Miscellaneous Amendment (2023) Bill, which is in the first reading, was introduced by the National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wa.

“The Bill proposes to amend the Children’s Act, 2022, to remove the provisions which prohibited the court from granting a sole male applicant adoption of a child,” reads the Bill.

According to the law, those who may apply for adoption include a sole applicant or two spouses jointly albeit having met the set out requirements.

 “The restrictions in Subsection (2) shall not apply in any case where a sole applicant or one of the joint applicants is the mother, father or relative of the child,” further reads the Act.

Moreover, the court shall not make an adoption order in favour of the following persons unless the Court is satisfied on reasons to be stated on the record that there are special circumstances that warrant the making of the adoption order an applicant or joint applicants who have, or both have attained the age of sixty-five years.

The sole male or two spouses are, however, prohibited from making an application for the guardianship of a child if of unsound mind within the meaning of the Mental Health Act (Cap.248), are incapable of exercising proper care and guardianship of a child, have been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for any of the offences specified in the Third Schedule or similar offences.

In the case of joint applicants, they are ineligible to adopt a child if they are not married to each other.

“Notwithstanding anything contained in this section the court may at its sole discretion decline to make an adoption order in favour of any person if the Court is of the view that it is not in the best interest of the child to make the order,” reads the Act.

An application for an adoption order must be accompanied by written consent from a parent or guardian, or any person who is liable to contribute to the maintenance of the child.

To make an adoption application, a person must get a concept from their spouse and in the case of a child aged 10 and above, the child himself or herself.

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