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Monday, October 29, 2007

Slide # 7

Explore alternative models of adoption

In any competitive world, seldom we see only one way to solve problems. If it persists, then the level creativity comes into question. Similarly in adoption in India we have a model that we have been following for as long as one can remember the modern way of placing children in homes through adoption.

The current method of adoption in India works like this:

  • A child is abandoned/ relinquished.
  • After the initial verification, brought to the adoption agency.
  • Declared free for adoption by the court.
  • Child is placed in a home through adoption.

When the child is placed in adoption, adoption agencies expected to receive reimbursement for the expenses as per the CARA price guidelines. It is precisely here, where the problem is. There have been many cases of malpractice where the price guidelines seem to have been violated blatantly.

It also appears that to place reasonable checks and balances in place in the current model of adoption is extremely difficult and tightening any more can choke the adoption agencies from functioning. The best way to address this problem is by exposing the current model to the competitive forces of market dynamics by promoting alternative models.

Two such models that I can suggest are as follows:

1. Venture Philanthropy Adoptions (VPA)
2. No Fee Adoptions (NoFA)

Here are the details:

  • Only difference (between the current model and the suggested models) is in reimbursement of expenses for the adoption agencies. Adoptive parents are still asked to bear the expenses such as travel, lodging, boarding, lawyer & court fee etc.
  • Under both these alternative models, agencies do not charge any kind of money from the adoptive parents as fee.
  • In VPA, agencies will partner with a specified corporate donor (let’s say for example IBM) who will reimburse all their expenses. Venture philanthropists are normally high-engaged donors with eye on details.
  • In NoFA, agencies will solicit contributions from anyone but adoptive parents.
  • Basically in both these models, we have a third party payer (of expenses) to whom the agency will be required to give appropriate receipts.
  • Alternative models helps economically disadvantaged families to adopt without worrying much about the costs involved in adopting a child.
India is witnessing an unprecedented growth in wealth and as late as yesterday, our Finance Minister had called on the Indian corporate sector to do more for the society by adopting a school, ITI or a community to make a difference. Indications are such that many are going to heed the call.

Working with these alternative models is not going to be easy but it is going to prove a point that adoptions can be done differently and it is time that we do it.


Ruby Nakka

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