CHENNAI: Where Are India’s Children, child welfare NGO, issued advice on how to protect children who are orphaned or abandoned due to Covid. Concerned citizens should: Immediately contact Child- Line, 1098, or, take the child to the nearest Specialised Adoption Agency, which can be found by selecting your state at http://cara.nic.in/Stakeholders/ India_map.html Do not give the child to an NGO or person claiming they can find them an adoptive parent.
Prospective adoptive parents can find out how to register for adoption at www.cara. nic.in. Do not attempt to take any other route to adopt a child, it is illegal. Smriti Gupta, CEO of WAIC said, “We can safely estimate that many thousands of young children have lost one or more caregivers, and the remaining family members may not be ready or capable to take them in.
We urge anyone aware of such a situation to take responsibility to follow the correct processes for the welfare of the child.” Child shelters, NGOs are not the best permanent option for abandoned and orphaned children.
While it is estimated there are 10,000 child shelters providing care to children, only around 32% of these are registered with the government, according to data from a Ministry of Women and Child Development report published in 2018. WAIC insists they are not always the best option for children who are permanently abandoned.
The role of CWC
In the case of an orphaned child, ChildLine or the Specialised Adoption Agency will present the child’s case before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). They step in to enquire if the child has any living relatives who are willing to take care of him or her before declaring them legally free for adoption. If they are to be taken in by relatives, they must go through appropriate checks.
If there is no relative who is willing to adopt, the child would then be adoptable by one of the current 30,000 ready and waiting parents who have fully completed all legal checks and been vetted as suitable parents by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). It is critical that orphaned children are adopted by these approved families rather than any unchecked person.