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Sunday, November 18, 2007

My model of foster care system in India (Adoption Discussion)

Government of India (Ministry of women child development) is introducing foster care system and encouraging all the state governments to frame rules. They are also asking the corporations and NGO’s to form partnerships to promote the concept of foster care.

If anyone out there does not understand what foster care system is, let me explain briefly: A child is taken into a family on a temporary custody to care and protect the interests of the child. It is not an adoption so the state remains to be the sole custodian of the child.

This is how I am thinking of framing rules. Let me use our own NGO – The HOPE House (HH) and fictitious corporation called ABC as an example of corporate partner. HH will identify a family to be a foster family and presents them to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) to declare as an eligible (fit) family. HH will counsel, train and place a child in foster care in a family. Family will be monitored each month by the HH social worker for the first year after which it will reduced to quarterly but will integrate the local administration (panchayat, municipalities and corporations) to be standby in case of emergency of any kind.

Families will not receive any kind of financial assistance of any kind on a monthly basis but they will be eligible for following benefits:

1. After three months of child’s stay at the family, life insurance policy in the name of the head of the household for 5 times (or determined by the market dynamics as ‘adequate’) the net worth of the family. The ABC corporate sponsor will pay the policy premium on a monthly basis to the insurer directly. Premium payments will be stopped following month when the child is removed from the family. Family is free to continue their policy at their own expense there after.

2. After six months of child’s stay at the family, the entire family will have health insurance policy for an amount that’s determined by the market dynamics as ‘adequate’. The ABC corporate sponsor will pay the policy premium on a monthly basis to the insurer directly. Premium payments will be stopped following month when the child is removed from the family. Family is free to continue their policy at their own expense there after.

3. All school expenses of the child (school uniform, stationary, and school transportation etc) will be borne by the ABC Corporation through HH. These expenses will be reimbursed to the family for actual expenses incurred (upon submission of legitimate receipts) to the maximum limit of 400 rupees per month.

4. Foster families will be educated and trained to form or join ‘Self Help Group’ (SHG) where a group of families of homogenous thinking can become a SHG to avail bank loans to help themselves. HH will extend guidance to the SHG’s make them effective and efficient on continuous basis.

5. If the child remained in a single family for the entire stretch of growing up, family will be entitled to ‘marriage assistance’ for the foster child’s marriage. This will be 100,000/- of actual expenses incurred paid as they go with 20,000 rupees given in advance. Marriage assistance will be borne by the ABC Corporation through HH.

As you can see, we honor and respect our foster families with adequate assistance but will not pay them for taking care of our children. When a family comes forward to care and protect a child, it must come from their heart and not from their head. Otherwise it will only be a matter of time before we go down the same path as some western countries have gone and not knowing now how to fix it.

What do you think? Will this work? Do you have any suggestions? Write in the comments section below.

RN

1 comment:

Mary said...

Feel to but my blog down as a link.
I would be honored.

Mary