Following complaints from family welfare organizations, as well as from President Rafael Correa, Ecuador's child adoption system is streamlining its application process. Instead of the current two to four year prcoess, adoptions will now soon take about six months.
Edwin Quezada, director of adoptions for the country's adoption services office, which is part of the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES), says he fully agrees with the changes. "Our goal is to place children into a home life situation and the long waiting times made this difficult for both the children and those who want to adopt."
In addition to new fast-track procedures, Quezada says the adoption service is increasing the number of offices that handle applications, from three to nine. Currently, applicants must work with offices in Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil. "This means that many adoptive parents won't have to travel as far during the process," he said.
Quezada says that most steps in the adoption process will remain the same. "We're just shortening the time it takes to get them accomplished." After an application is made, a clinical psychologist and a social worker conduct interviews and home studies and offer training if necessary.
A couple wishing to adopt a child must still submit an application with all required documents to the MIES Council on Children and Adolescents office.
Those interested in adoption in Cuenca, can visit the Adoption Technical Unit office in the MIES building on Av. Remigio Crespo at Los Rios.
Tungurahua volcano shows new activity
With loud explosions over the weekend, the Tungurahua volcano has signaled that it has not finished its current cycle of high activity.
Explosions on Friday and Saturday sent smoke soaring more than three kilometers into the air and sent incandescent boulders rolling down the flanks of the volcano near Ambato, and blanked an area southwest of the volcano with ash. Small lava flows were also reported.
Volcanologist Edwin Viracucha said the Tungurahua Volcano Observatory is monitoring Tungurahua and says the public will be notified if the situation changes. "There was a slight decrease Saturday afternoon and Sunday and we hope this continues," Viracucha said.
The current cycle of higher activity began October 6 and has seen almost continuous emissions of steam, gases and ash.
Photo caption: Tungurahua roars again.