New adoption guidelines- Adoptions set to be faster, easier and cleaner
New guidelines to make the process of adoption quicker and transparent besides cutting down on red-tape have been notified, introducing a slew of changes including treating non-resident Indians on par with Indian citizens, introducing a timeframe for adoption, monitoring of adoption agencies and introducing provision of pre-adoption foster care.
A centralised databank of adoptive children, allowing single parents looking to adopt, and, treating non-resident Indians (NRIs) on par with Indian citizens are some of the revamped guidelines of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) introduced by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, on 27-7-2015. The guidelines will be effective from next month.
Under the new guidelines, an e-governance measure that will hasten the adoption process, and make it transparent by putting up the data of the adoptive children online, has been brought up. The Central Adoption Resource Information Guidance System (CARINGS), a centralised system that collates the data, will be connected to the district child protection units.
NRIs will be treated on par with domestic adoptive parents, and a child of below five years, will be given up for adoption 60 days after being cleared for adoption. A child of above five years will be given up for adoption 30 days after clearance.
The new guidelines have also made it possible for single parents to adopt. While single mothers can adopt children of either gender, single men can only adopt male children. The minimum age difference between child and parent cannot exceed 25 years under the new guidelines. The new rules have also laid down criteria for prospective parents. Couples will have to be in a stable marital relationship for at least a year to adopt. The maximum age of a single prospective parent is 45 years if he or she wants to adopt a child of up to fours years of age. The ministry has capped the age of the parent at 55 years for adopting a child above eight years.
With this notification, non-resident Indians will be treated as Indians in terms of priority and not as foreign nationals. At present, only 20% of children given for adoption go to NRI homes. There are an estimated 10,000 parents who would like to adopt.
Stricter monitoring of adoption agencies is also on the anvil. For the first time, uniform foster care guidelines have been introduced. The guidelines provide for the option of "pre-adoption foster care'' for parents who may not be mentally ready to adopt.
The revamped guidelines were originally mooted in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014. But the Bill, introduced in the Rajya Sabha, has been pending for a year and a half. In 2013-14, 3924 children were given up for adoption within the country, while 3988 children were given up in 2014-15. There were 422 inter-country adoptions in 2013-14, and 374 in 2014-15.