Ground Report | New Delhi: Why number of adopters declining in India; The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) said that 3,621 children have been orphaned in India between April 1, 2020, and June 5, 2021, while according to a study by The Lancet magazine, this figure is more than one lakh. . During the second wave of Covdi-19, pictures of children who lost their parents due to Covid were also going viral on social media, with posts related to them appealing to adopt such children.
Various studies over the years have shown that children in institutional care tend to have slower cognitive development, physical development, and attachment rates than children in family-based care. Children in family-based care also face fewer emotional problems than a child who has been brought up in a shelter home or institution, research shows, and nonprofit staff confirms.
Why number of adopters declining in India
Many organizations had also expressed concern about this. They feared that such activities might encourage child trafficking in India. It was also claimed in some media reports that the trafficking of children has really increased in different states of India during Corona and children orphaned due to the outbreak of the virus is being sold for Rs 2-5 lakh.
In media reports, some NGOs were also held responsible for illegally selling children. It was said in the report that these traffickers are garnering customers through social media. Overall, despite the increase in the number of orphans during Corona, the rate of legal adoption of children in India has decreased in the year 2020-21.
According to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), the figures for the year 2020-21 are at the lowest level in five years. The pandemic is believed to be responsible for this decline. In 2019-20, 3,351 children were adopted, while in 2020-21 only 3,142 children were adopted. This figure is the lowest since 2015-16. In 2015-16, only 3,011 children were adopted.
According to the Maharashtra Women and Child Development Department, the number of adopted children in the state has decreased by more than one-third. Adoption agencies, experts, and members of the prison steering committee are citing restrictions on the movement of people and limited administrative procedures.
3 crore orphan children in India
Professor Ratna Verma and Rinku Verma have written a research paper about the impact of the corona epidemic on the adoption and care of children, in which the total number of orphans and abandoned children in India is said to be around 30 million. Most of these children have been abandoned by their parents due to poverty. These children sometimes become victims of child labour, trafficking, and sexual abuse. Even after having such a large number of orphans, India’s adoption rate is very low.
Dr. Ratna Verma is an Assistant Professor in the School of Development Studies, Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR). Regarding the impact of Corona, she says, “The process of adopting children in India was not easy even before, after Corona it has become even more difficult. Adoptive parents have to give proof of their marriage as well as many documents. Which are later verified by the Adoption Authority. It takes a lot of time. Now due to Covid, the work of government offices has been disrupted, due to which there is a long delay in the preparation and receipt of these documents.
The laws related to the adoption of children in India are the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA), and the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 (JJ Act). Before the JJ Act, non-Hindus could adopt children only under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1980 (GWA). Unlike the law applicable to Hindus, the GWA, unlike the HAMA, makes the individual the only legal guardian of the child and not the natural. In such a situation, the role of the guardian ends when the child turns 21.
A major change in the adoption process came in 2015 when the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS) was introduced. It is a central database for adoptable children and potential parents.
CARINGS aims to complete the adoption process of as many children as possible without delay. Yet this adoption system has several drawbacks. The number of adopters on the website is more than 10 times that of total adoptable children.