Andhra Pradesh

A child for couples, and a family for the homeless

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Adoption is picking up in Visakhapatnam, thanks to the Women & Child Welfare Department’s efforts

An attempt on was made on the life of A. Sravani (name changed) by her step-mother in Visakhapatnam. It was in 2017, and Sravani was just five-years-old. Police rescued her and handed over Sravani to the Women & Child Welfare Department. In 2018, a Chennai-based businessman and his wife adopted the girl.

A few weeks ago, when Sravani had come to Vizag to attend the pending court case, the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) team were pleasantly surprised to see her girl speak in English and Tamil fluently.

Growing up in a new environment

“Though Sravani was active in the home for children, she always felt the absence of a family, post the murder attempt. We saw her very happy and confident again,” said a DCPU official.

Two years ago, when Sai (name changed) was just a day or two-old infant, he was left at an isolated place at Tagarapuvalasa by his parents. On August 26, 2019, a couple from Sweden adopted the special child.

The Child Adoption Programme, launched by the Ministry of Women & Child Development has been giving a new lease of life for couples who intend to adopt a child, and the lesser-privileged children in Visakhapatnam. Since 2017, 13 child adoptions were successfully done, including four inter-country adoptions.

Stringent procedures

According to officials, three categories of children are eligible for adoptions – abandoned, orphans and those given away by parents due to acute poverty.

“All the adoptions including inter-country go through the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India. Recognised adoption agencies, including welfare committees of districts, States and other countries contact CARA, which allow parents to adopt a particular child after several procedures are observed under the Juvenile Justice Act,” said District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) A. Satyanarayana.

A couple can opt for any child under below 18 years, choose the gender, can choose a normal or special child, and also opt for the state of origin of the child. However, for inter-country adoptions, there is no option of state selection, he said.

Awareness hikes adoptions

In 2018, the DCPU has conducted a massive awareness programme on adoptions, which has resulted in the number of adoptions picking up, according to Mr. Satyanarayana.

“About nine in-country adoptions and four inter-country adoptions were done. Three more inter-country adoptions are under process. Two siblings are going to be adopted by a couple from Canada and another child is going to be adopted by a couple from the US,” he said.

Due diligence

A senior official said after couples apply for adoption, teams would conduct a home study, which includes checking the psychological, social, and financial conditions of the would-be parents and their family.

“A child cannot be pushed again into a vulnerable situation. So, a home study is mandatory. We would check whether the family is able to fulfil all primary needs of the child. Also, if there’s any resistance from other members of the family. After adoption, regular checks are conducted to see how the family is taking care of the adopted child,” an officer said.

Officials from District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) said it takes an average two years for the adoption procedure to be completed. There are cases when the parents can get children within one-and-half year after applying to the adoption programme through CARA. In 2018, a single woman from Adilabad district, Telangana, has sought adoption and she received a 11-year old girl on Oct 1, 2019, they said.

Surrendered children

It is not always ‘they lived happily thereafter’ type of stories. There are cases where children are surrendered. Project Director, Women & Child Welfare department, Visakhapatnam, N. Seethamahalakshmi said such cases happen very rarely. In Vizag, there were just two cases of children surrendered when they were not able to adjust to their new homes. “We have been conducting awareness on the adoption programme and the response is good,” she said.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 8:18:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/a-child-for-couples-and-a-family-for-the-homeless/article29611328.ece

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