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MANITOBANS looking to adopt a child through a private agency will see their fees rise by more than 50 per cent.

On Wednesday, Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh approved the first increase in private adoption fees in more than a decade.

Fees for private adoptions within Manitoba will be allowed to rise to $8,500 from $5,500. Agency fees for international adoptions will soar to $8,800 from $5,800.

There are three private, not-for-profit adoption agencies in Manitoba. Adoption Options Manitoba assists with private adoptions of Manitoba kids, while Canadian Advocates for the Adoption of Children (CAFAC) and UAS Eastern European Adoption facilitate international adoptions. The three agencies have arranged a total of 488 adoptions since 1999.

Mackintosh said the higher fees will not apply to families who are already in the process of adopting a child.

Manitoba will still have the lowest fees in the country, he said. Private adoption fees in other provinces range from $10,000 in Alberta to $14,000 in Ontario.

Officials with CAFAC and Adoptions Options said Wednesday they need to increase their fees to survive.

Patti Sutherland, a board member Friends of Adoption Manitoba, which provides resources for people who are thinking about adopting or have already adopted, said the fee hike may look large on paper, but it is well justified considering the work involved.

“It was becoming formidable for private agencies to survive,” Sutherland said. “So if the question they face is ‘Do we close our doors or do we increase our fees?’ we definitely support the increase.”

Sutherland said families usually pay their fees over time throughout the adoption process, and that there are subsidies available for lower-income families.

The province says there have been 48 private adoptions in Manitoba over the past two years and 64 involving Child and Family Services.


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