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Monday, April 22 2024
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India Surpasses 4,000 Adoption Mark: Progress Amidst Persistent Challenges

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India has achieved a significant milestone in adoption, surpassing the 4,000-adoption mark for the first time in five years, according to recent government data reported by the Times of India (TOI).

The figures reveal that between April 2023 and March 2024, approximately 4,009 children found homes through adoption, with 3,560 adoptions taking place within India and 449 through inter-country adoption, as stated by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), the central government’s nodal agency for adoptions.

While the increase in adoption numbers is a positive development, it follows a period of decline, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adoption figures dipped to 3,405 in 2021-22 after reaching 4,027 in 2018-19. However, the recent surge in adoptions, crossing the 4,000 mark, offers hope for progress in this area.

Notably, CARA has introduced ‘foster adoption’ as a category under adoption, accommodating 10 children currently living in foster care across India. Foster care provides temporary placement for children above the age of six in approved alternative domestic environments other than their biological families.

Despite this positive trend, challenges persist. TOI reports that as of April 1st, there are 33,809 prospective adoptive parents awaiting children. However, only 2,141 children, categorized as 731 in the ‘normal category’ and 1,410 with ‘special needs,’ are legally available for adoption. This glaring disparity underscores the gap between the number of children in need of homes and prospective adoptive parents.

Further complicating the adoption process is its lengthy and intricate nature. Prospective parents in India endure a prolonged process that takes at least two years to complete. The process involves registration on the Child Adoption Resource Information & Guidance System (CARINGS), home visits by social workers, and allocation of waiting numbers for child matching, among other steps.

To streamline the adoption process, amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Amendment Act were introduced in September 2022, empowering District Magistrates to issue adoption orders instead of district courts. While these changes aim to expedite adoptions, concerns have been raised regarding the balance between expediency and ensuring the child’s safety and welfare.

Efforts to encourage adoption of older children and those with special needs are crucial. Dedicated campaigns, periodic exercises to identify vulnerable children, and initiatives to address social stigmas surrounding adoption are essential steps in fostering a more inclusive and supportive adoption environment in India. Despite progress, there remains a pressing need for concerted efforts to ensure every child finds a loving and permanent home.

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