Tamil Nadu

Child rights activists want government to act against illegal adoption messages

“For Adoption: If anyone wishes to adopt a girl, please feel free to contact Priyanka. One girl is three days old and another is six months old. They have lost their parents recently due to COVID-19. Please help these kids get a new life, spread the word.”

Such messages on illegal adoption have been circulating on social media platforms as the second wave of COVID-19 rages on.

Child rights activists want the government to create awareness on adoption measures and monitor such illegal adoption networks to prevent the trafficking of children. They also want the government to involve civil society organisations to monitor and follow up with families affected by COVID-19.

“All adoptions are regulated by the Central Adoption Research Agency (CARA). The process will be completed through court and it involves background checks, counselling of the prospective parents and regular follow-up. So, if anyone comes across a child orphaned due to COVID-19, they should inform the police, Childline 1098 or the District Child Welfare Committee (CWC),” said a source from the State Adoption Research Agency (SARA). In the wake of such messages, the CARA has instructed the SARAs to sensitize all their staff, District Child Protection Units (DCPU) and CWCs on this issue and track such numbers on social media with the help of police so that the children can be rescued at the earliest if the social media posts are found to be true.

“Civil society organisations should be roped in by the government to monitor families with children affected by COVID-19. This was supposed to be done in the first wave itself. The District Child Protection Units, along with Childline, should check if the children orphaned due to COVID-19 have any relatives to take care of them or they should be taken to childrens’ homes and given care,” said M. Andrew Sesuraj, State convener, Tamil Nadu Child Rights Watch.

He said that the government should focus on such children orphaned due to COVID-19 amidst all this chaos.

“Otherwise, they face the danger of being trafficked by touts. Then we will be staring at a larger problem. Another solution for this is forming the long pending area-level Child Protection Committees in urban areas and strengthening Village Child Protection Committees in rural areas. They can map the vulnerable families affected by COVID-19 in their locality and monitor them,” he said.

Smriti Gupta, CEO, Where Are India’s Children, said in the past few days, they had been overwhelmed by the amount of messages on social media about adoption of children who had been orphaned by COVID-19.

“The entire adoption process is regulated pan-India by the CARA. There are currently more than 30,000 waiting parents who have completed all the background checks and are ready to take children into their homes. But the awareness about the adoption process is very low. Every single Indian should know that an abandoned or orphaned child needs to reach a Specialised Adoption Agency. People can find the nearest agency by contacting Childline or using http://cara.nic.in,” she added.

(Childline operates a toll free helpline 1098 for children in distress across the country)

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 9:47:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/child-rights-activists-want-government-to-act-against-illegal-adoption-messages/article34530721.ece

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