1 Feb 2006

American Samoan judge concerned about adoptions

7:40 pm on 1 February 2006

An American Samoan district court judge, John Ward, says there are serious problems with current adoption laws and the territory is losing children off island because of them.

He says mothers are being coerced to give up their babies at birth who end up overseas with families that are no blood relation to them.

Speaking at a seminar on domestic violence, Judge Ward said the territory needs to protect its children.

"We've also got to find a way where adoptions can be done as the statute contemplates them that at birth this child is given over to the government and at birth the court and the government social services place this child in the best possible home."