Recently, the Central Minister of India, who takes care of child adoption area, announced a series of decisions to streamline the child adoption process in India.
It is a very good step, coming at a very appropriate time, for three different reasons. One, children in the adoption homes are not being able to find prospective adoption parents because of several hindrances and likewise, prospective parents were not able to adopt soon because of the same issues. There is also the question of people who want to adopt, so that they don’t add more to India’s burgeoning population by the way giving biological birth to a child. In all these three aspects, the measures announced are welcome.
It was announced that statutory status to CARA will be announced. This is good because it increases accountability for results, and also gives power for the department bureaucrats to take swift actions.
It was announced that no child will remain in an adoption home for more than 100 days. This will make the home accountable for finding a suitable parent for the child as soon as possible. Courts and Chief justices have been asked to minimize the delays in issuance of court orders for children to be enabled to be adopted.
The best part is the warning for the specialized adoption agencies to be blacklisted, if they don’t keep and update their databases about children ready to be adopted and the numbers up to date! This is very important, and several people have complained that the information about child availability is not being made available by the homes at the first place, and even if it’s available, it’s out of date, and when they physically go to the center, they get the reply that children are not available for adoption.
CARA was also told to ask the Child Welfare Committees to enable issuance of ‘legally free’ certificates for the children that are ready to be adopted. This is also welcome, as the process will be fastened.
Adoption statistics at the CARA website shows that only 3924 children have been adopted through the agency in 2013-14. This is a very small number compared to the number of children who are without homes living in cities, and the country’s population of 1.3 billion. This clearly shows that somewhere things are not going right. May be a structural and process change is needed in CARA. More hands and heads are required both in the policy-making levels, as well as the support stuff in the offices who handles parents requests and process them. One potential parent observed that the phone calls to CARA are not answered most of the times, and emails are not being replied. Enough staffing (as it is the central agency which handles requests from all-over India), and monitoring of the processes are very much required.
Hope the Indian Central Government follows up with the decisions announced and streamline the processes and removes the structural obstacles.