Consulate General of IndiaSan Francisco, California
Serving the states of: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and territory of Guam
Role of Recognized Indian Agencies for Adoption
Listing with Authorities
4. 1 Every institution and child welfare agency engaged in care and custody of children or in adoption work or any other activity related to orphan, abandoned, destitute, neglected or relinquished children shall immediately be listed by the concerned State Government and such list shall be forwarded to CARA.
Only Recognized Agencies could undertake Adoption.
4. 2 (i) No agency shall engage in placement of or promotion of in-country adoption unless the State Government recognizes it and in case of agency engaged in placement work, it should be a child welfare agency. Any Indian agency desirous of undertaking inter-country adoption work shall apply for recognition to the Central Adoption Resource Agency, the State Government concerned and only such agencies as are recognized by the Central Adoption Resource Agency, shall be entitled to undertake inter-country adoption work. Such agencies shall be termed "recognized placement agencies" of adoption. The agencies, which are not doing placement work but are involved in promotional work of Indian adoption, shall also be recognized by CARA.
(ii) No agencies except those recognized by the State Government concerned shall engage in in-country adoption. Rules and guidelines for this purpose may be formulated by the State Government.
Emphasis on Child Welfare
4.3 Only such voluntary agencies as are primarily engaged in child welfare programs for the growth and development of children and which undertake adoption as a part of their total activities may apply for recognition for inter-country adoption to the Central Adoption Resource Agency.
List of Prospective Adoptive Parents
4.4 Every social child welfare organization recognized for placement work in adoption shall regularly maintain a list of all prospective adoptive parents containing their names, addresses and data on the basis of which they have approached the organization for taking a child in adoption and other relevant details.
Priority to In-country Adoption
4.5 When a recognized Indian agency receives a child its first responsibility is to trace the biological parents and restore the child to them failing which as far as possible to place the child in adoption with Indian families. It would be desirable that an Indian recognized placement agency should place annually more than 50 per cent of the total number of children given in adoption with Indian families. However, the handicapped children, children above 6 years of age and siblings will be excluded from this calculation. The placement agencies are required to adhere the following order of priority while considering the adoption of Indian children:
1. Indian families in India.
2. Indian families abroad.
3. One parent of Indian origin abroad.
4. Totally foreign.
Every recognized placement agency shall also give full details of the child to the prospective adoptive parents except the names and addresses of the biological parents, where known to the agency. It is only when all efforts to place the child within the country fail then the child would be cleared for inter-country adoption. These efforts should include contracting the VCA within the area of operation. A clearance certificate should be taken from VCA in this regard. Such clearance certificate shall be given by VCA. If within 60 days from the date the application to VCA, VCA is unable to send suitable Indian parents who are willing to take the child in adoption, intimation of making of the application to VCA shall be given to the Central Adoption Resource Agency forthwith. The Central Adoption Resource Agency will prepare a uniform proforma for clearance certificate to be issued by all voluntary coordinating agencies.
4.6 Adoption of Indian children placed with Indian living abroad will be treated as in-country placement. However, such Indian would have to follow the same procedure of sending their applications, documents etc. through an enlisted foreign agency in that country as in the case of inter-country adoption.
Record of Promotion Efforts
4.7 Every recognized agency shall keep a complete record in chronological order of the efforts made by it for locating an Indian parent for the adoption of a child and shall specifically note the reasons for any case of non-placement of a child in in-country adoption with any particulars of Indian parents.
4.8 Every recognized Indian placement agency shall maintain a separate file for each child with the child's complete case history.
Quarterly Data to be furnished to Authorities
4.9 Every recognized Indian placement agency shall furnish quarterly data to the Government of the State in which the agency is operating and a quarterly statement to the Central Adoption Resource Agency, in such proforma as may be prescribed by Central Adoption Resource Agency in respect of children given to Indians and others for adoption from time to time.
Intake of Children
4.10 All children admitted by a recognized agency should be entered in the admission register with all the available information in the format prescribed by the Central Adoption Resource Agency.
4.11 In the case of an abandoned child not received through Juvenile Welfare Board/Juvenile Court as the case may be or through direct relinquishment by biological parents, a first information report (FIR) should be filed by the concerned agency in the local police station within 24 hours of arrival of the child at the recognized agency's children's home. The nearest Juvenile Welfare Board or where it does not operate, the Juvenile Court or the District Collector should also be notified within 24 hours of arrival of the child at the agency's children's home.
4.12 The recognized agency should ensure that medical examination of the child is conducted within 24 hours of its arrival and appropriate treatment given where necessary.
Surrender of a Child
4.13 In the case of surrender of a child, the biological parents/ parent should be counseled and duly informed by the agency concerned of the effect of their consent for adoption and the alternative available for the care and maintenance of the child.
4.14 The surrender document should be executed at the freewill of the biological parents/parent with no compulsion, payment or compensation of any kind on the part of the agency. If the biological parents state a preference for the religious up-bringing of the child, their wish should be respected as far as possible. But ultimately the interest of the child alone should be the sole guiding factor before the child is placed in adoption.
4.15 The parents/parent should be informed by the agency of his/her/their right to reclaim the child within 90 days from the date of surrender. He/She/They should be made aware that after the period of 90 days relinquishment deed will become irrevocable and the agency will be free to place the child in adoption or guardianship within or outside India.
4.16 Wherever possible the surrender document should be executed on stamped paper in the presence of two responsible witnesses whom the recognized agency should be able to produce, if necessity arises. The responsibility for the authenticity of the surrender document would be on the agency.
During the surrender process, the recognized Indian placement agency should ensure that:
(i) If a legitimate child is surrendered, both parents sign the relinquishment document and in case one of the parents is dead, proof of death is furnished.
(ii) In case of a child born out of wedlock the mother herself and none else, surrenders the child.
(iii) If the surrender is effected by any person other than the biological parents/parent, the same procedure is followed as for an abandoned child.
Destitute or Abandoned Child
4.17 If a child is found abandoned or is picked up as a destitute then the procedure of going through the Juvenile Welfare Board/ Juvenile Court or the Social Welfare Department or the Collector would have to be adopted. As soon as an abandoned or destitute child is found by a social or child welfare agency or a nursing home or hospital or the police or anyone else a report should immediately be lodged with the local police station alongwith a photograph of the child. The Collector of the District must be informed who in turn must immediately inform the nearest recognized agency and VCA. The Inspector-General of Police, or the Commissioner of Police, as the case may be, should instruct every police station within his jurisdiction to immediately undertake an inquiry for the purpose of ascertaining and tracing the parents of the child in respect of which the report is made and such inquiry must be completed within one month of the report being lodged with the police station. Meanwhile, the social or child welfare agency which has found the abandoned or destitute child may make an application to the Juvenile Welfare Board and where it is not functioning, then the Juvenile Court or to the Social Welfare Department or the Collector, as the case may be, for a release order declaring that the child is legally free for adoption. Since the report of the enquiry to be made by the police has to be completed within a period of one month, it should be possible for the Juvenile Court or the Social Welfare Department or the Collector to make a release order declaring the child legally free for adoption within a period of six weeks from the date of making of the application in the case of children below the age of two years and three months, in the case of children above that age.
4.18 Every child must have a birth certificate. For issuing a birth certificate in respect of an abandoned or destitute child, the registration of whose birth is not available, the agency concerned must make an application to the local Magistrate alongwith any other material which the agency considers relevant in the form of an affidavit made by a responsible person belonging to the agency. The local magistrate will then pass an order approving the particulars to be entered in the birth certificate and on the basis of the magisterial order, the requisite certificate will be issued by the local birth certificate issued authority of the city/town/area where the child has been found. The Chief Medical Officer of the district may be involved in the enquiry for ascertaining age. The Magistrate would ordinarily act on the certificate granted by the Chief Medical Officer. This process would be initiated only after the adoption is finalised, so that the particulars of the adoptive parents are available for inclusion in the certificate. In case the child has attained the age of three, and the adoption has still not been finalized, the agency may obtain a birth certificate, if it is found necessary, after informing the court in the form of an affidavit:
(a) that to the best of its knowledge the child has attained the age of three years;
(b) that his/her adoption has not been finalised and is likely to take some time or may never be finalized in all probability;
(c) that a certificate is required for educational/medical/legal purposes or any other reasonable purpose which may be specified; and
(d) that person/persons would stand in as local parents to the child (this person/these persons should be a responsible person/responsible persons belonging to the placement agency) till such time as he/she attains majority, or is adopted, whichever is earlier.
In such cases a second birth certificate may be issued after adoption to provide for a change in the name/names of the child and the adoptive parent/parents after obtaining an order to that effect from the court which had passed order for issuing the original birth certificate.
4.19 A quarterly statement on child available for guardianship/ adoption in the format prescribed by CARA should be furnished to the appropriate authority in the State Government/U.T. Administration and CARA and every month to the VCA concerned.
Procedure for Adoption
4.20 No child should be offered for adoption:
(a) In the case of abandoned children until the Juvenile Welfare Board/Juvenile Court, the Collector or the District Magistrate or the Department of Social Welfare declares the child legally free for placement.
(b) In the case of surrendered children, till the three months period for reconsideration by the parent is over.
(c) In the case of a child who can understand and express without his/her consent.
Role of the Placement Agencies
4.21 In the case of surrendered children, after 3 months time for reconsideration, the placement agencies should make all efforts within 45 days to place the child with Indian parents in the country. But in case of destitute or abandoned child, the placement agency after getting a releasing order declaring the child legally free for adoption from the competent authority, should make all the efforts to place the child within the country within a period not exceeding seven weeks from the date of releasing order which include one week time for reconsideration of the biological parents, if traced.
4.22 If the Recognized Placement Agency is not able to find a suitable Indian family within the country, it will give all the details of the child to the voluntary coordinating agency wherever it exists. The information must include details of admission, medical history, legal status, photograph and efforts made to find families in the country. The officers of the VCA shall be permitted to visit and see the child, as and when necessary.
4.23 Where there is a VCA maintaining a register of children available for adoption as also a register of Indian adoptive parents who want to take a child in adoption. VCA will immediately contact the Indian family which is on its register as prospective adoptive parents and inform them that a particular child is available for adoption. If, within a period of two months, the child is not taken in adoption by an Indian family, it should be regarded as available for inter-country adoption. The possibility of inter-State adoption in India and inter VCA coordination should also be exhausted before a child is offered for inter-country adoption. The first priority in inter-country adoption should be given to Indians residing abroad and, if no such Indian family is available, then to adoptive couples where at least one parent is of Indian origin. However, the children placed with parents or one of the parents having Indian origin would be considered as given in in-country adoption.
4.24 It is only where a VCA does not exist or no Indian family comes forward to take a child in adoption within a maximum period of two months, that the child should be regarded as available for inter-country adoption. However, if the child is handicapped or is a sibling or above 6 years of age, the procedure of obtaining VCA clearance need not be followed and the child should be regarded as available for inter-country adoption without the waiting period of two months. In other cases also, if the child is in bad state of health, needing urgent medical attention which it is not possible for the social or child welfare agency looking after the child to provide within the country the agency need not wait for the period of two months but after obtaining a medical certificate from a medical specialist in a Government hospital stating the need for urgent treatment and also that the child will be able to withstand the journey, get VCA clearance and process the case for inter-country adoption. However, in the case of surrendered children, the three months time for reconsideration should always be adhered to.
4.25 A child should be offered in inter-country adoption by a recognized Indian agency only on receipt of a no objection certificate from the VCA except in the cases mentioned in paragraphs 4.5 and 4.24 above. If it has not been possible to find suitable Indian parents for taking a child in adoption within the period of two months specified in paragraph 4.23 VCA shall issue a no-objection certificate.
4.26 In completing formalities for adoption guardianship all the procedures as laid down by Central Government/CARA should be followed. Documentary proof of age, marriage, income, health, property and savings of prospective parents, letter of acceptance accepting a particular child alongwith countersigned child study report, medical report and photograph of the prospective parents/agency consent and power of Attorney in the name of the functionary of the Indian Agency, should be taken. A Home Study Report prepared by or under the supervision of a professionally trained social worker should be taken into account. Photographs of prospective parents should also be kept on record.
4.27 Pending completion of formal adoption/guardianship proceedings, the child may be placed with prospective adoptive parents in foster care in the case of Indian parents living in India.
Placement of Handicapped Children
4.28 The placement of handicapped children and children with deficiencies may be considered as a plus point in evaluating the performance.
Transfer of Children
4.29 All children transferred to the recognized placement agency (recognized by Government of India) from an unrecognized agency, whether within the State or from outside, should be in the physical custody of the recognized agency for a period of not less than one month before any action for the placement of the child abroad is taken.
4.30 Transfer of the child should be accompanied by available documents pertaining to its admission, preliminary case history, documentary evidence to prove that the child is legally free for adoption, and a letter of transfer. The recognized placement agency should verify all the facts before accepting the child, as they are legally responsible for the placement.
4.31 Attempts to find adoptive parents for children who are legally free for placement may be made by the child welfare agency, which has first received the child, either directly or through an unrecognized agency or through the VCA.
4.32 In the case of inter-state transfer of children, children may be transferred by the recognized Indian agency to any of its designated branches, provided that it is done with the written consent and permission of the Social Welfare Department/Magistrate/Collector, as is relevant to the case - The nearest VCA should also be informed.
4.33 The follow-up of children placed within the country will be as follows:
(i) If any pre-placement foster care is effected, there should be regular monitoring and evaluation of the foster care. A professionally trained social worker should visit the family regularly.
(ii) The follow-up format should be completed and forwarded by the recognized placement agency concerned every six months to VCA, the State Government and the Central Adoption Resource Agency.
(iii) The agency should see that legal adoption is effected at the earliest, thereby safeguarding the interest of the child.
(iv) Even after legal adoption, the agency should keep in touch with the family for a period of three years.
(v) Post-adoptive counseling should be provided by the agency to the adoptive parents.
4.34 The following records and registers should be maintained by every recognized Indian placement agency.
(i) Admission register.
(ii) A separate file on each child in the prescribed format, giving full details/history. Relevant, legal documents of every adoption and Childs background/history should be maintained at least for a period of 18 years for future reference.
(iii) Register of prospective adoptive parents with details.
(iv) Register of children showing their arrival, departure, admittance into hospitals, return to their parents and death, if any.
(v) Follow-up register of children placed with adoptive family prior to legal placement and after legal placement.
(vi) Quarterly reports in the prescribed format as forwarded to the State Government, Central Adoption Resource Agency and VCA.
(vii) The annual report of the organization together with the necessary details and statistics in the prescribed format as forwarded to the State Government, the Central Adoption Resource Agency and VCA.
(viii) Audited statement of accounts, together with a copy of FCRA account submitted to the Home Ministry, as forwarded to the State Government and CARA.
(ix) Other records stipulated under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or the relevant State Law relating to public trusts.
Recovery of Costs
4.35 The organization shall pursue only non-profit objectives. Under no circumstances should it derive improper financial gain from any activity related to inter-country or in-country adoption. It may, however, receive reimbursement or other payment for direct or indirect costs and actual expenses.
4.36 For in-country adoption, the following charges may be recovered by the agency from the adoptive parents, if the agency deems it necessary:
(i) Maintenance cost as fixed by the Court from time to time, from the date the child has been approved and accepted by the Indian parent/parents to the date of departure from the institution.
(ii) Such out of pocket cost, administrative cost and service charges for preparation of child study, medical and IQ reports, legal expenses and conveyance etc., as may be fixed by the court from time to time.
4.37 The maximum amount to be charged by any agency from Indian parents as reimbursement of maintenance expenses shall be fixed by the court.
4.38 For inter-country adoption the following costs may be recovered by the agency from the foreign adoptive parents:
(i) Cost of any surgical or medical treatment of the child against production of bills or vouchers duly certified.
(ii) The Indian placement agency processing the application of a foreigner for being appointed guardian of a child with a view to its eventual adoption, should be entitled to recover from the foreigner, cost incurred in preparing and filing the application and processing it in court including legal expenses, administrative expenses, preparation of child study report, preparation of medical and reports, passport and visa expenses and conveyance expenses and that such expenses may be fixed by the court at a figure not exceeding Rs. 6,000. Any increase in maximum recoverable expenses in this regard would be done only with the approval of the Supreme Court of India. In so far as the maintenance or medical expenses incurred by the recognized placement agencies running homes for children is concerned, they are entitled to receive reimbursement of such maintenance or medical expenses from the foreigner taking the child in adoption at a figure not more than Rs. 78 per day per child from the date of selection of the child by the adoptive parents until the child is taken by the adoptive parents after they are appointed as guardians. This outer limit of recoverable expenses may be reviewed by the Ministry of Welfare, Government of India once in three years depending on escalation of the expenses including cost of living.
(iii) Cost of travel of the child from India to the receiving country and the cost of an escort, if the foreign recognized agency is unable to provide the escort.
(iv) In case of disruption or failure of adoption, the cost of repatriating the child to India, if no alternative placement for the child is effected in the foreigner's country by the recognized foreign agency with the concurrence of the Indian agency.
(v) If it comes to CARA's notice that any recognized Indian agency charges more fees than the prescribed fees or tries to exploit financially the foreign enlisted agency, CARA may after giving an opportunity to such agency to explain its point of view, suspend or revoke its recognition. Similarly, if any foreign enlisted agency induces an Indian recognized agency by giving or offers more money than the prescribed fees for processing a case of inter-country adoption of an Indian child, CARA may after giving an opportunity to such agency to explain its point of view de-enlist the foreign agency.