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
Voluntary Coordinating Agencies (VCA)
7.1 There shall be a centralized agency namely Voluntary Coordinating Agency (VCA) in the State or even in a large city where there are several recognized placement and child welfare agencies. The principal functions of VCA shall be as follows:-
(a) It shall actively promote Indian adoption and formulate, develop and execute programs and activities for generating awareness in this regard;
(b) It shall ensure that the priority laid down by the Supreme Court on placement/adoption within the country or with Indian abroad is adhered to. All recognized social/child welfare agencies, Juvenile Welfare Boards and Government homes within the country, desirous of placing children in adoption/ placement shall furnish lists of children legally free for adoption to the concerned VCA and also to CARA;
(c) It shall maintain a register of all prospective adoptive parents;
(d) It shall maintain a register of all available children who are legally free for adoption;
(e) It shall coordinate the work of all its member agencies and other child welf2ire institutions in the field of Indian adoption. Where Indian adoption is difficult within its area of operation it shall coordinate with other VCAs in the State and in the country;
(f) Where Indian placement is not materialized, it shall issue a no objection certificate within a period of two months from the date of receipt of application for 'No objection' in the VCAs to the recognized placement agency so as to enable the child to be placed in inter-country adoption;
(g) In the case of a child requiring immediate medical or surgical assistance, the VCA may waive the stipulated waiting period on production of medical certificate as provided in paragraph 4.24 above and issue a no-objection certificate at the earliest;
(h) It shall call a meeting of member agencies at least once every quarter;
(i) In cases where these guidelines are not being followed by any recognized placement agency, the concerned VCA will bring it to the notice of CARA with substantive evidence for taking appropriate action.
7.2 The VCA shall be registered under the Societies Registration Act and will comply with all the rules laid down under the Act and also these guidelines.
7.3 Every VCA shall have, on its staff, at least two professionally trained social workers.
7.4 Every VCA shall have to seek recognition from CARA by means of an application which shall be routed through the State Government and the State Government shall offer its comments on such application within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of such application and if no such comments are forthcoming within the period of 30 days, it shall be presumed that the State Government has no objection.
7.5 All the recognized placement agencies (whether doing only in-country and inter-country adoption) would be entitled to become members of VCA and those child welfare agencies which are not placing children in adoption but are merely n-inning homes for children etc. would also be eligible to be members of VCA. The final decision in case of the later would rest with the executive committee of the VCA. If any agency is de-recognized by CARA on account of malpractice of any other valid reason or any child welfare agency de-licensed by the State Government, then it shall cease to be a member of VCA and it shall not be eligible for membership of VCA unless it is once again recognized or licensed.
7.6 The recognized placement agencies would have the right to vote for electing the executive committee of the VCA. The child welfare agencies would not enjoy any voting right. The VCA should be an independent registered body with a democratic structure. The Chairman should not be connected with either in-country or intercountry placements.
Structure of VCA
7.7 There shall be an executive committee for managing the day-to-day affairs of VCA. The executive committee shall consist of not less than 3 members and not more than one-third the number of members of the VCA.
Executive Committee of VCA
7.8 The executive committee of VCA shall comprise:
(a) The Chairman of VCA.
(b) A representative of the State Government of the level of the Deputy Director (Welfare)/Social Welfare or above.
(c) One senior representative of each scrutinizing agency working in the jurisdiction of the concerned VCA.
(d) One representative from the agencies exclusively does Indian adoption.
(e) There representatives of the recognized placement agencies out of these at least two shall be from those placement agencies which have placed at least 50 per cent children within the country during last three years to be elected by the recognized placement agencies which are members of VCA. The terms of office of the members of the executive committee of items (c) and (d) shall be two years and they shall not be eligible for re-appointment for the next succeeding period of 2 years.
The executive committee of VCA may appoint staff to carry out the day-to-day functions of the VCA. Such paid staff would be accountable to the executive committee.
7.9 The no-objection certificate issued by the VCA would be signed and issued by two persons-the Chairperson and MemberSecretary, both of whom will not be connected with adoption activities whether in country or inter-country. No recognized placement agency shall process the application for inter-country adoption before obtaining the no-objection certificate save in the case of exceptional and/or exempted categories referred to above at these guidelines.
The following are the broad procedure to be followed by the VCA
7. 10 (a) All member agencies must submit a list of children and prospective adoptive parents on a monthly basis to the VCA.
(b) When an agency wishes to place a child in foreign adoption it must check with the VCA to ascertain whether there is any Indian parent willing to take the child in adoption.
(c) The period of 30 days provided for in the Supreme Court Judgment for trying to place a child with Indian parents has been found to be inadequate and this should be extended to 60 days from the date when VCA assistance is sought to locate an Indian family. This procedure may be adopted during the period of 5 weeks within which CARA is required to give a final clearance.
(d) The time frame for VCA to find a placement in India will be 60 days as provided in clause (c) above and only after that, an inter-country placement may be processed.
(e) If there is difference between the placement agency and VCA in regard to the clearance of a child for inter-country adoption, the placement agency concerned may refer the cases to CARA. In such cases, CARA will decide whether to give the clearance of the child or not. The decision of CARA shall be final.
Criteria for Recognition
7. 11 In order to be recognized as VCA, an agency must fulfil the following criteria:-
(i) It should be a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
(ii) The agency must be recommended by the State Government concerned for recognition by CARA.
(iii) The agency should run on a non-commercial and non profitable basis.
(iv) Its office-bearers at item (d) and (e) in paragraph 7.8 shall be from recognized placement agencies which have given children in in-country adoption to the extent of 50% or more of the total number of children given in the adoption in a year after excluding handicapped children, siblings and children above 6 years of age.
(v) All the office-bearers should be Indian nationals. The initial recognition of VCA shall be for a period of 3 years.
Renewal of Recognition
7.12 A VCA which seeks renewal of recognition should apply to CARA through the State Government for renewal of recognition six months prior to the date of expiry of the previous recognition. The following would be the main criteria for renewal of recognition.
(i) Satisfactory performance in the promotion of in-country adoptions.
(ii) Timely submission of reports and returns as may be specified by CARA.
Withdrawal of Recognition
7.13 Recognition of a VCA may be withdrawn by CARA on receipt of a report from the State Government regarding unsatisfactory performance, after giving the VCA an opportunity to explain its position. The VCAs should play positive role in bringing greater coordination among all the placement agencies working in the area of their operation. Any malpractice, if proved, would immediately invite action in the shape of de-recognition. Delay and non-compliance in the submission of reports/returns asked for by the State Government or CARA may also be a ground for withdrawal of recognition.
7.14 VCA should conduct the quarterly meetings attended by all the members entitled and eligible to attend the meetings and discuss all matters relating to adoption. The minutes of the meetings should be sent to CARA by the concerned VCA.
Finance of VCA
7.15 The Government of India in the Ministry of Welfare would give grant-in-aid to VCA upto 90% of the cost as per prescribed norms.
7.16 The existing VCAs shall stand superseded as soon as VCAs are constituted in accordance with these guidelines for the area of operation of the existing VCAs.
7.17 If in any area there is only one recognized placement agency, it shall be entitled to become a member of VCA operating in the most adjacent area.