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Aboriginal Custom Adoption

An Aboriginal Custom Adoption is a privately arranged adoption between two aboriginal families. No social workers or lawyers are involved in a custom adoption.

Aboriginal Custom Adoption was officially recognized in 1961in the Northwest Territories. On September 30th, 1995, separate adoption legislation, called the Aboriginal Custom Adoption Recognition Act (ACARA), was passed and since then, custom adoptions have been processed by Adoption Commissioners in the various Northern communities. Adoption certificates are completed by Adoption Commissioners and forwarded to the Supreme Court of the NWT where they are certified, stamped and filed by the Supreme Court Clerk.

Custom adoption has long existed in native communities; most reserves have a child welfare committee that works with Elders and the community to provide care for a child when a birth parent or their extended family members cannot. There is often a traditional ceremony that recognizes and finalizes a custom adoption.


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