Kerala government issues guidelines for foster care in State

The State government has issued guidelines for selection of foster family or group foster care settings to rehabilitate children in a family or family-like environment.

Termed ‘Guidelines for Foster Care in Kerala, 2021,’ it details the procedures for foster care and role of stakeholders, among other aspects related to implementation of foster care in the State.

According to the guidelines, children whose parents are unable to take care of them, children of all age groups living in child care institutions, children whose relatives are willing to take care of them, children in child care insitutions who have not been declared legally free for adoption (LFA), children in the 6-8 age group who do not get a family in adoption within a period of two years after they are declared LFA, those in the 8-18 age group who are LFA but have not been selected by any prospective adoptive parent for one year, and children with special needs who do get a family within one year after they are declared LFA will be eligible for adoption.

The criteria for selection of foster family include the stipulation that both spouses must be Indian citizens in the 35-65 age group and in good physical, mental, and emotional health. They must be willing to foster the same child, should have an income with which they are able to meet the needs of the child, and should not have any criminal conviction or indictment. To take more than one child into foster care, consent of foster parents and of the first foster child is needed.

Pre-foster care counselling should be given to prospective foster parents for taking up responsibility of foster parenthood. Foster care assessment report and home study should be conducted.

A child and the foster parents selected should be given the opportunity to spend time together before the placement.

In the case of group foster care, the facility should be recognised as fit, the medical fitness of the care givers should be ensured, and a family-like environment rather than an institutional feel should be provided.

If the foster parents need financial support, the District Child Protection Unit ( DCPU) should convene sponsorship and foster care approval committees and take steps to provide maximum of ₹2,000 for a child per month in a joint account of the child and the parent.

A quarterly enquiry should be done to verify that the placement is in the best interests of the child.

The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) can start termination of foster care if the biological parent is fit to take care of the child and seeks custody, if an LFA child while in foster care finds an adoptive family, if the foster family is not willing to continue with foster care, child has been subjected to any kind of abuse or neglect in the foster home, misappropriation of foster care assistance for the child, disruption caused by death, divorce, or separation of foster parents, or the child attains the age of 18.

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Printable version | May 18, 2022 11:07:25 pm |