Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has written to all 29 chief ministers across the country to take measures to improve the adoption rate for orphaned or abandoned children.
In her letter Maneka Gandhi has expressed “her anguish” about poor performance of Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) in several states, which have failed to declare orphaned or abandoned children “legally free” for adoption.
Gandhi has also spoken to several ministers in-charge of women and child development in various states and ordered that this should be completed on a “no-delay” mode within a fortnight.
With fewer children legally available for adoption the Child Adoption Regulatory Authority (CARA) – the central adoption body – has a mere 1,500 children available in its pool for adoption. However, the number of parents waiting to adopt a child is nearly 10,000, according to a source in CARA.
According to the women and child development ministry there are 1,811 children waiting to be declared “legally free” for adoption. Out of these, the largest number of cases are with Maharashtra (439), Madhya Pradesh (151), Tamil Nadu (132), West Bengal (176), Uttar Pradesh (126) and Delhi (107).
Further, nearly 1,000 such cases are pending for the past 4 months and nearly 500 cases have been pending in various CWCs for the past 1 year.
As per rules an abandoned child received by a specialised adoption agency has to be produced before the Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours.
After following due procedure, a CWC has to declare a child “legally free” within a period of 2 months in case of a child upto 2 years of age and within 4 months for a child above 2 years of age.
CARA has been dealing with a fall in adoption rate. Over the past six years, the number of adoptions has fallen by 40 per cent from 6,321 adoptions in 2010 to 3,677 in 2016.