The Banque Mixte, which was
started in 1988 by the Centre Youth, is a program that finds
stable homes for abandoned or neglected children. Pursuing
adoption through this route is risky; the children in need
of homes or 'families of reception' have not been made legally
free to be adopted and some, although not many, may be returned
to their biological families. The Banque Mixte is very similar
to the "Fostering with a View to Adopt" route in
provinces like Ontario.
Children who are in the Banque
Mixte program are often identified and apprehended by the
Centre Youth for a number of reasons such as:
- The child(ren) may be abandoned or neglected
by their birth families as they are unable to provide them
with their basic needs.
- The birth parent(s) are too young and
unable to provide the basic needs;
- The birth parent(s) have already had
several children who have been apprehended and placed in
- The birth parent(s) may have addictions
to alcohol and/or drugs or be involved in lifestyles involving
Youth Protection Services's
mandate is to intervene in the best interests of the child
and to find him/her a more stable home that's favourable to
their healthy development.
Who Are The Children?
In Québec, there are children
of all ages, from newborn to teenagers, that come under the
care of the youth protection. Many of these children were
physically or sexually abused, others were abandoned and in
the case of newborns, many are born addicted to drugs like
cocaine or heroin. Other children available for placement
have learning disabilities or behavioural problems that require
Before a child is place with
a family of reception, the family will be made aware of any
'special needs' and the child's social history gathered by
the Centre Youth.
Birth Families and
Taking the route of Banque
Mixte adoption can be legally risky but also a stressful experience
for hopeful adoptive parents and even the children. The Court
often grants biological families the rights to visitation
with their children and it's the family of reception's duty
to ensure the children attend these meetings. Visitation is
supervised and is, in most cases, at the youth protection
agency. The parents hoping to adopt the child can attend the
visit but a judge may decide it's in their best interest for
their identities to be kept confidential.
Visits with the birth parent(s)
can be particularly difficult for families hoping to adopt
as they may feel the birth parent(s) pose a threat to their
adoption plans. While there are others who welcome this as
an opportunity to meet the biological parents so that they
can understand their child's background and history.
For those families of reception
that do meet with biological families, their information is
kept confidential, but some do choose to disclose full names
and feel it's important for both families to stay connected.
Open adoption in Québec is not legally enforceable but many
families do make informal agreements as they feel it's important
for the children to know their biological families.
Legal Matters regarding
the Banque Mixte
Families that agree to have
children placed in their homes from the Banque Mixte must
realize and be prepared for a lengthy period of time before
that child may become judicially legal to be adopted. Since
1988, statistics have shown that roughly only 4% of the children
in the program have been reunited with their biological families.
So, chances are very high that these children can be adopted,
but the wait can still be stressful for everyone.
In the best interests of children,
it's been determined that a placement for children ages 0
to 2 years be made within a year. Children ages two to five
years old must have a placement within 18 months and for children
ages 6 and older, a placement within two years.
STEP 1: Contact
your local Centre Youth and request to speak with an adoption
worker. You may be asked to attend an information session
or be sent an information package with documents.
STEP 2: Fill
out all the paperwork so that your application can move forward.
These documents include the application form, a self-study
questionnaire, references, a medical examination, proof of
employment, a statement of income, a proof of residence, and
a consent form for a police check.
STEP 3: The
psychosocial assessment (a.k.a. the homestudy). If you've
been accepted by the Centre Youth, you will be contacted by
a social worker to begin the assessment. If your family has
a wide range of acceptance of children (age, race, needs etc),
your assessment will begin faster than those who will only
consider a healthy, caucasian newborn.
Your social worker will meet
with you and your family together and on an individual basis
at their office and in your home over a period of approximately
6 to 8 weeks. During these meetings, you will be 'interviewed'
and it will feel as though nothing in your life is private.
Such topics will be your motivation for adopting, your history
of fertility/infertility, your professional and cultural situation,
your personal history and your relationship with your partner
if you have one, your health, your extended family, your sex
life, your relationship with your children (if you already
have any), your attitude toward adoption and parenthood. You'll
also discuss the type of child you want to adopt and how you
will cope and accept a child if he/she has any developmental,
attachment or behavioural problems.
STEP 4: Psychosocial
Assessment Report. Your social worker will take all of the
content he/she has gathered as a result of your meetings and
write a report for the Centre Youth to assess. If your family
is approved to adopt, a child may be placed in your home within
a few days or you may wait up to a couple of years. There
are a number of factors influencing how long you will wait
for a match including the strengths and weaknesses of your
family, the child's characteristics (age, culture, needs if
any) and the parent-child match itself.
STEP 5: Wait
to be matched! Typically, the waiting period for a child ages
newborn to 2 years is anywhere from a few weeks to 24 months
through the Banque Mixte. If you're willing to accept an older
child, your wait will be considerably less.
STEP 6: The call! When
your family is matched with a child, your worker will call
you the good news. You'll be given information about the child
which will include information about their medical and social
histories. At this point, you will be able to move forward
with the placement or turn the match down. If the proposed
match does not feel right, you are under no obligation to
accept as there will be another opportunity in the future
for the right match.
STEP 7: Placement!
When the child is placed in your home, you will be asked to
sign a contract designating you as a foster family (even in
the case of the Banque Mixte). The contract states that what
will be required of your family to provide for a child and
what expenses the agency will provide your family (i.e. diaper
and formula allowances, school supplies, activity allowances,
subsidies etc.) As the child is not legally free for adoption,
the youth protection agency or the biological parents retain
parental authority over the child unless a judge decides otherwise.
STEP 8: The legal process.
As you and your child begin the process of bonding
and attachment, the youth protection agency will be attempting
to have the child declared legally free for adoption. In order
to obtain a declaration of adoptability, the agency must provide
strong evidence that the biological parents have severely
neglected their parental responsibilities for at least six
months. Even if biological parents are attempting to improve
their situation, it will be what's in the best interest of
the child and if adoption is the right choice, then a declaration
for adoption will take place. All situations are different!
STEP 9: Placement Order.
Once the Court declares the child's eligibility for adoption,
an order of placement must obtained. The Department of Youth
Protection and the prospective parents file a motion that
the child should be placed in their home. This motion must
show that the child's basic requirements will be met, that
the adoption is in the best interest of the child and if the
child is old enough, their consent must also be granted.
With the order of placement
granted, parental authority is transferred to the adoptive
parents and the child's name is legally changed to the family
name. At this point, the child cannot be returned to his/her
STEP 10: Adoption finalization!
After six months (or sometimes sooner), the agency and adoptive
parents will return to court for finalization. The Court will
be presented with a report by the social worker outlining
the child's development and how they've settled within their
new family. This report will make recommendations as to whether
or not the adoption should be finalized.
If the court grants the adoption,
the child is now considered legally part of the family and
all ties with his/her biological family are severed. The child
will be given their new legal name and a birth certificate
reflecting such changes. Congratulations on your new arrival!