Stricter norms for domestic, international adoption

NEW DELHI: The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has moved to tighten adoption norms, proposing stringent monitoring of international and domestic adoptions, including a thorough scrutiny of the sourcing of each child placed for adoption.

The guidelines being framed in the wake of growing incidence of child trafficking aim to streamline the process, facilitate speedy adoption and ensure that the source of each child is verified prior to placement for adoption. CARA is the nodal agency for adoptions in the country.

The need for a comprehensive system was felt because of problems like illegal, irregular and premature adoptions.

Among the iniatives on the anvil is the establishment of a centralized dossier system for all children placed for adoption, along with their details. The website 'Carings' is expected to be launched mid-January, and can be accessed by prospective parents and authorized officials.

Women and child development minister Krishna Tirath told ToI: "The proposed guidelines are under the ministry's consideration. We are working on making the process of adoption transparent and cut down on the waiting period for parents".

Other proposed guidelines include discontinuing international adoptions to countries that are not signatories to the Hague Convention on child protection, with the exception of Indian nationals living in such countries. The government is also looking at cutting down the number of children placed for international adoptions from 50% to 20% of the total number of children waiting to be adopted. At present, agencies can place equal number of children for domestic and international adoptions.

The guidelines also propose norms for children with special needs to ensure more efficient placements and will make it mandatory that orphan, abandoned and surrendered children be allowed to be adopted internationally under the Juvenile Justice Act. Sources said a majority of children are adopted under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA) and Guardianship and Wards Act (GAWA). This means that an adopted child is only a ward and does not have legal rights until specifically granted by the guardian or adopted parent.

To bridge this lacuna, post-adoption monitoring is also likely to be strengthened with follow-up in domestic adoptions for two years, and for international adoptions till such time as the child is given legal rights.

Other measures that are being considered are setting up of a fixed deposit of $5,000 in the name of a repatriated child in case the adoption process is disrupted and the child repatriated.


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