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.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My suggestions for CARA online database.

Almost three years ago (on May 20th, 2005 to be specific), I wrote an article on Ichild about building software to bring in the much-needed transparency into the operations of adoption. It is humbling to know that my suggestion made then had some value and today CARA has an online database. I had been through the entire CARA database (CARING) and here are my suggestions to make it better..

First and foremost, before I write my suggestions, I do want to emphasize why we need this database. Primarily this database is needed to give access to information and then most importantly it is needed to protect and preserve the credibility of a public institution (CARA).

I had visited and played around with the entire database. It appears that it is basically a database to connect adoption entities (RIPA’s, ACA’s, SARA’s and SAA’s) to CARA. This effort of CARA must be commended but it must be taken further to streamline many entities, stakeholders and operations to make the entire adoption process transparent, quick and inexpensive.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Connect the children to adoptive families: There must be a foolproof system for general public to access any adoption agency in India to see how many children are available for adoption. JJ Act does have a provision to protect the privacy of children so identifying a child with an alphanumeric code can do it. This is important because many times, it is lack of this link, delays the process of adoption. This will enable any family in India to adopt a child from anywhere in the country.

2. Knowing the status of adoption: Although it was few years ago, I still remember how frustrating it was not knowing where we stand in terms of our turn to adopt a child, CARA’s NOC, court date, and passport issuance etc. This database can be built in such a way for the families to have some kind of access for this kind of information for any prospective family.

3. Displaying the FCRA compliance status of RIPA’s: One of the important tools that CARA has built in to prevent RIPA’s from benefiting unduly is by mandating that they submit FCRA statements each year. This submitted statement information can be displayed (not necessarily the real document but a date that was submitted for which year) on the database for people to develop the confidence in a particular agency that they deal with.

4. Expanding the access: Access must be expanded to include LAPA’s (Licensed Adoption Placement Agency) and Shishu Greh’s along with adoption support groups, and Indian embassies of a country where there’s no CARA recognized adoption agency, etc.

I know all this requires more manpower and increased financial resources but to invest in something as important as this to increase transparency and to build credibility, it is worth investing in a database like this.


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