Do you know this?

There are approximately 18000 parents registered with CARA, while the number of children in the Government's adoption pool is less 1800.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Slide # 10

Promote foster care as an alternative

Although expecting every child to be placed in adoption is a worthy intent, not every child can be placed in adoption for many reasons. But on the same token, child also must not be left to grow in an institution without giving due consideration to find an alternative to adoption.

A viable alternative is foster care. Foster care is something where a family is agreeing to take care of the child for a temporary period of time to provide him/ her loving home. There are many benefits that can be rendered to a child through foster care such as caring for the child in a loving home environment, reducing the dangers of institutional living and last but not the least to reduce the economical and social burden on the society. Equal if not more dangers are there in a foster care system ranging from identifying the right family, abusing the system to moving from one foster family to another that can affect the frame of mind of the child.

In India, except for the limited efforts of few NGO’s, foster care system is non-existent but lately the Government has been talking about starting it as an alternative to adoption. Unless and until the government learns from other countries, India will also go down the same path of heartaches that comes along with foster care system.

If I have my way, foster care system cannot be linked to financial incentives to a family on a monthly basis. Apart from the background checks to be done, level of sacrifice that the family is making must also be studied and factored in. Although I am against the financial gains for a family, I am all for supporting a family. This is what I mean: Foster care system can be structured like “Self Help Group” model where a group of like minded people join together to uplift themselves out of poverty. They work under constant supervision of each other. Members of this group can be given incentives such as life insurance policy, health insurance policy, loan guarantees, help with child’s school expenses, and help with the foster child’s marriage etc.

Foster care system can be an excellent bridge between adoption and an institution. Just like adoption and an institution have their own distinct places in childcare, foster care holds an important place, which must be studied, and promoted.

Do you think foster care system will work in India? If you think it doesn’t would you be kind enough to explain?


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