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SC calls for collaborative efforts to bring children into the adoption pool

THE HINDU BUREAU

NEW DELHI

The Hindu (Mangalore)

22 Nov 2023


The court orders States and Union Territories to begin a bi-monthly drive to identify children in the orphaned, abandoned, surrendered category in institutions, starting from December 7




The Supreme Court said on Saturday said that children living in childcare institutions whose parents had not visited them for over a year or had “unfit” parents or guardians should be identified and brought into the adoption pool.


The court defined an “unfit guardian” as someone who is “unable or unwilling for parenting, indulging in drug or alcohol abuse, known to have abused or neglected the child, having a criminal record, in need of care themselves, mentally unsound, etc”.


A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud turned its focus on a finding by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) that many children were living in institutions for over a year with undetermined legal status.


“All such children should be identified district wise in the category of ‘unfit parents’ or if their parents or guardians have not visited them in the last


The court has directed the States and Union Territories to compile data on potential children for adoptions.


one year viceversa.


The district functionaries should make collaborative efforts to bring more such children into the adoption pool,” the court said in an 11page order published late on November 21.


The court ordered the States and Union Territories to begin a bimonthly drive to identify children in the orphanedabandonedsurrendered (OAS) category in the institutions, starting from December 7, 2023.


The court also directed the States and Union Territories to compile data on potential children for adoption, especially


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among those languishing in the childcare institutions, and hand over the details to the CARA Director, and the Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, by January 31.


“It is imperative for the States to ensure registration of all OAS children in the district on the CARINGS portal,” the court said. The Bench highlighted the “huge mismatch” between children available for legal adoption and the number of prospective adoptive parents according to CARA’s online portal, the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System or CARINGS.


A Statewise breakdown of the figures provided by CARA, represented by Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, showed that 2,146 children were available for adoption as on October 28, 2023.


As opposed to this, about 30,669 prospective adoptive parents have been registered for incountry adoption as of October 2023. They have to wait for between three to four years for getting ‘a healthy and young child’ due to the huge mismatch in the number of registered prospective adoptive parents and children available for adoption, the order noted.


Further, it also emerged in court that out of 760 districts in the country, only 390 districts have specialised adoption agencies. Adding to these reasons for delay in the adoption process is the fact that prospective adoptive parents “prefer” children up to the age of two for adoption.


CARA’s tabulation indicates that 69.4% of registered PAPs opt for children in the age group of zero to two years; 10.3% in the age group of two to four years.

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