Only 2,400 children eligible for adoption while 26,000 prospective parents have registered: Report

The Parliamentary panel also said the WCD Ministry can engage with experts working in this field to get feedback on the practical difficulties which prospective parents are facing.
For representational purposes. (Representational Image)
For representational purposes. (Representational Image)

NEW DELHI: A parliamentary panel has recommended that the adoption process in the country be simplified, noting that while the number of registered prospective adoptive parents is 26,000, the number of children who are legally eligible for adoption is 2,400, including 900 with special needs.

In its report released on Wednesday, the parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports stressed the need for a close relook at the various regulations guiding the procedure of adoption and flagged the underutilisation of funds by the nodal adoption authority CARA.

It said the Women and Child Development Ministry can engage with experts working in this field to get feedback on the practical difficulties which prospective parents are facing.

The Committee also recommended that the issue of children with special needs requires focus in terms of highlighting and advocacy at various platforms, besides regular sensitising of prospective parents for adoption of such children.

The ministry in its deposition has stated that the number of prospective adoptive parents who have registered is 26,000 but the number of children who are legally eligible for adoption is 2400 only and out of these 900 are children with special needs, the report said.

The Committee also suggested that CARA can arrange special counseling/ sensitisation sessions in coordination with various fertility clinics, hospitals and maternity centers to encourage parents to have a positive approach towards adopting children with special needs.

Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a statutory body of the ministry, functions as the nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.

The Committee observes that there is a need to address the issues related to filling up vacant posts and conducting training programmes on adoption, media activities, inspection, monitoring, etc.

by CARA so that surrendering of funds can be avoided and hopes that the current year allocation will find better utilisation, it said.

At present, out of the allocated funds of Rs.9549 crores and funds released as Rs.4241 crores, the funds utilised so far stand at around Rs.2989 crores only.

The Committee recommended that the factors which are leading to such underutilisation of the fund need to be identified.

Also, state governments need to be brought onboard in ensuring that the schemes, in which they are stakeholders, get implemented effectively and any issues raised by the state governments should be addressed expeditiously.

"The Committee also recommends that the concerned ministries must develop a robust mechanism for constant monitoring of Projects/Schemes being handled by them."

"Also, guidelines may be prepared to ensure that this fund is not utilised for creating routine infrastructure, which even otherwise the relevant departments have to undertake," the report said.

The Committee also stressed that wherever there is a provision under the guidelines for financial assistance or compensation to the victims, it should be ensured that the same is made available without any procedural impediments and undue delays.

The Committee observed that while infrastructure development and capacity building of the Anganwadi remains the key to improving the programme, the standards of all its services need to be upscaled.

"The economic fallout of the Covid pandemic has made necessity of quality public welfare services more pressing than ever.

"Thus, Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) could become agents of improved delivery of such services and need to play a much larger role in anchoring community development, more so as beneficiaries for want of services due to lack of adequate facilities at AWCs, turn to paid options, which hit the low-income families the hardest," the committee said.

Also, effective implementation of the scheme rests heavily on the combined efforts of the Anganwadi workers (AWWs), ASHAs and ANMs, but a lot requires to be done to improve the career prospects and service conditions of these frontline workers.

The Committee recommended that sustained efforts towards infrastructure development and capacity building of the AWCs be made besides upscaling the standards of all its services.

Observing that the states have much to learn from each other's experience and good practices, the Committee recommended that the Ministry must undertake a comprehensive impact assessment through state-wise review of the status of AWCs and its services, to collate the best practices that emerge and push for their adoption in states that are lagging.

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