HYDERABAD : An NGO ‘Where Are India’s Children?’ has started an online petition asking media houses to include information about surrendering a child legally, whenever they report cases of child abandonment. Talking about the petition, the co-founder of the NGO, Meera Marthi from Hyderabad, said:
“We read about cases of children being abandoned on the streets, bathrooms and dustbins almost every day. Many do not know that there is a provision in the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act, 2015, which allows parents to legally surrender their children to specialised adoption centres if they are unable support the children.
These agencies, which are there in almost every district in India, can bring these children into the legal adoption pool.” Since there is low awareness about this law among the general public, the NGO wants media houses to include the following information in reports of child abandonment or infanticide: “Unsafe child abandonment is illegal and puts children’s lives and future at risk. A child can be legally and anonymously relinquished at a specialised adoption agency.
To find the nearest specialised adoption agency, call ChildLine at 1098 or go to http://cara.nic.in/Stakeholders/India_map.html and select any state.” The link takes users to a page of the Central Adoption Resource Authority, which is part of the Union ministry of Women and Child Development. The page has a map which has state-wise specialised adoption agencies marked on it. Explaining the process to legally surrender a child, Meera added: “When an adoption centre is approached by parents who want to surrender their child, they are directed to the child welfare committee, which conducts a preliminary enquiry.
After that, the family can relinquish the rights to a child through a surrender deed. The names of the parents are not revealed to the child. After the kid turns 18, she/he might be allowed to know about the biological parents if the latter have consented. A few child welfare committees also allow 60 days to the parents to reconsider their decision.” If a child’s age is below six years, she/he is accomodated in a specialised adoption agency. Children older than that are taken to childcare institutions.
Pointing to how bringing these children into the legal adoption stream can fulfill the dreams of many couples, Meera added: “There are nearly 30,000 parents waiting to adopt a child in India”.
Along with the petition, the NGO has started a campaign which will end on Children’s Day on November 14. As part of it, parents and children will talk about their adoption journeys.
Specialised adoption agency in Hyderabad:
Hyderabad Sishu Greh
D.No. 8-3-222, near Sarathi Studios, besides Madhuranagar metro station, Vengalrao Nagar, Ameerpet
Contact Person: GK Santhoshi Bai
ChildLine India: 1098
(Kakoli Mukherjee; email@example.com; @KakoliMukherje2)