In 2004, the State of Punjab enacted a very interesting piece of legislation The Punjab Destitute And Neglected Children Act 2004; provides for the creation of two government bodies (a court and a bureau) with the specific purpose of overseeing neglected and abandoned in the state of Punjab.

The bureau, is a government body that has authority to do all kinds of things for children who may be neglected, destitute or delinquent. It does not have authority to do any of the 6 adoption services. Those remain specifically and solely under the jurisdiction of the Child neglect court. But the bureau does house abandoned and neglected children.  I don’t know how many children or babies are present or abandoned but since a number of my clients have adopted from there, I can only assume that there are babies in need of families there. According to one of those families, there were a number of babies available when they submitted an application (some time ago).

What does this have to do with the UAA and how can it save you time and money?

For those of you who may not know, here is a brief explanation of what the UAA is. For those of you who are bored to tears of reading my thoughts on the UAA; you have my permission to skip this paragraph and move on to the good stuff.  In 2014, a law called the Universal Accreditation Act came into force (“the UAA.”). Pursuant to the UAA, the 6 adoption services must be carried out by either a Hague Accredited entity or someone who is supervised by a Hague Accredited entity. A Hague accredited entity is typically an adoption agency that has been granted permission (accreditation) to work on Hague adoption cases. USCIS has announced that in countries that allow private adoptions, no accreditation is required for in-country adoption service. That means that because Pakistan allows private adoptions, adoption services there do not have to be carried out by an accredited adoption service provide. Also, all of the adoption services in Pakistan are carried out by the court by statute in Pakistan. (I’ve blogged on this extensively).The US embassy is not requiring primary provider agreements to issue visas. However; some primary providers are insisting on having them because they have concerns about their accreditation i.e. their ability to remain accredited to handle Hague cases.  These primary agreements can be very costly to you and time consuming. Also, if the primary provider you choose is insisting on having a primary provider agreement and is not successful in obtaining a primary provider agreement in Pakistan, your adoption may stall.

Here’s the interesting part. The Punjab Destitute And Neglected Children Act creates a government body, a bureau, which physically houses abandoned babies. If you adopt from The Child Protection Bureau Offices; then your child is coming from a government body. Primary providers are not allowed to sign supervision agreements with or supervise government entities.  Government entities are exempt from the UAA. This is great because it means everyone is happy. You do not have to pay for a supervision agreement. And your primary provider should be happy because they cannot be held responsible for/ required to supervise government bodies. All of the power regarding custodial decisions and child welfare remain with the court and the bureau itself has no power or authority to make those kinds of decisions. The court orders we see coming from the Child Protection Courts are ASWESOME from an immigration standpoint. They clearly and concisely state the Pakistani legal position on the six adoption services.

And finally, the vast majority of Pakistan’s 2 million or so Christians live in the state of Punjab. Under Pakistani law, any child who is found abandoned is presumed to be Muslim absent proof to the contrary.  However, if an abandoned child is found and identified as Christian he or she would be available for adoption by Christian families.