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Monday, October 22, 2007

Slide # 3

Building credibility of adoption agencies.

Across the board, almost every speaker at the CARA conference had spoken about the importance of transparency in the field of adoptions. These days, adoption scandals are breaking almost on a weekly basis in the national news headlines in India and it is imperative that transparency be stressed and promoted in the field of adoptions.

Transparency is directly related to credibility. When an organization is open, then the patrons develop trust and confidence in it to do business with. Consider this: If you have to have a surgery and if someone tells something very negative about a doctor that you plan to use, would you still consider going for the surgery? But on the other hand, if someone tells you very positive about the doctor, would that increase the trust and confidence in you? Credibility is a matter of trust and confidence.

Credibility is not given but has to be earned. In some instances it may even take a lifetime to earn the needed credibility. So how can we improve the credibility of an organization? It simply has to be a tangible process.

I suggest two things:

1. Membership to Credibility Alliance: CARA mandate every adoption agency to become a member of “Credibility Alliance” (http://www.credall.org.in) – a consortium of NGO’s located in New Delhi trying to bring transparency and accountability to the NGO sector. Membership doesn’t come easy. Their membership requires that the desiring organization submit documents such as annual audited financial statements, create operational policies, disclosure of funds received and disbursed, disclosure of remuneration, and disclosure of composition of the members of the organization etc.

I also suggest that CARA must pay for the membership fee to alleviate the financial burden on the adoption agencies. Apart from alleviating financial burden, this creates a viable private-public partnership. Public stake in an adoption agency creates a strong accessibility channel for information to any desiring person/ entity.

Membership to Credibility Alliance must also become a contingent factor for licensing and renewal of license of an adoption agency.

2. Local stakeholders: Make the local adoptive parents or adoptive family associations as the stakeholders of adoption agency. I do not suggest creating an informal group of vigilantes but stakeholders who partner with the agencies to promote the message of adoption. There are no better individuals than members of adoptive families to vouch for the integrity of an adoption agency. Adoptive families speak from their experience and conviction.

At the end of the day, it is the credibility and credibility of an adoption agency alone should matter in placing a child in adoption and no one should take it for granted.

Ruby Nakka

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