Foster children in India – part 3

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Foster children in India – part 3

Another in our series which examines the state of fostering and who can foster in India as a prelude to Rainbow International’s “Fostering Children for a Better Nation”: our initiative to develop a model of fostering that can be applied on a national scale. What is encouraging is that there are now definitely moves afoot to create awareness of what it is to foster.

There is a head of steam building up, The WCD (Union ministry of women and child development) has now produced and disseminated the first ever guidelines for fostering to the state governments. This followed a recent consultation. This means that children or young people who may have one, or indeed, both parents in prison; or who are unable to take care of their children may have them put forward for foster care. The situation changes once the biological parents are released as they can then have their children returned to them.

The introduction of foster care is beginning

As the system currently exists, adoption is far more widely prevalent: only children residing in orphanages being put up for adoption. While the biological parents of a child or young person are still alive, the process of adoption remains complex. Regarding fostering, the guidelines explicitly state that a foster child will not have any legal rights to the property of the foster parents where they are settled. This should have the effect of removing one of the major barriers to fostering which is a significant move forward since the guidelines state that:

“While institutionalisation is a common practice, it is recognised that a family environment is the best place to ensure holistic and proper development of a child,”; a fact also recognised by the new National Policy for Children recognised as far back as 2013. In terms of the existing legal framework that provides the backdrop for the guidelines, foster care was officially introduced in India for the very first time through the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act of 2014.

Much of the current impetus comes from Maneka Gandhi, WCD minister: she is the Indian Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development in the Government of PM Narendra Modi. Aside from her involvement in fostering, Maneka Gandhi is also an animal rights activist, spokesperson on environmental matters and the widow of the Indian politician Sanjay Gandhi.

The foster care guidelines stipulate:

the responsibility of any foster family will be to provide education and ensure the overall well being of the child or young person. This will mean providing good nutrition;

only Indian couples will be eligible to take children into their care and as soon as an adoptive home becomes available, the child has to be surrendered up;

provision will exist whereby “group foster care’” will be made available; this will mean a family can take care of more than one child in need of foster care and protection where there is no parental care in place;

the foster child or young person will always have the right to access information regarding his/her biological parents if known;

the Child Welfare Committee will examine, review and make recommendations relating to the case of each child or young person in foster care;

the term of the foster care will come to an end once the young person reaches the age of eighteen. If up and till then, the child has not been adopted, the proviso exists for the foster family to have the first right to adopt that child;

the government will undertake to provide nominal financial support: the current proposal is for 2,000 R’s per month, but the intention is that foster families will be sought who are sufficiently well off without the need to rely on financial assistance.

Who will be allowed to be foster parents:

both foster carers must be Indian Citizens;

all family members will be required to have medical reports obtained, including checks on TB, Hepatitis B and HIV;

both foster carers must not have any record of criminal convictions or indictments;

both foster carers should be over the age of 35 and should have an income enabling them to meet the needs of the child or young person.

Categories of children who will be eligible for fostering have also been laid down: children whose parents are mentally ill and therefore unable to look after their child (children); children who have one or both parents in jail; children between 0 to 6 years of age who have not been adopted after a minimum period of one year of having been declared legally free for adoption and children whose birth parents place a request with government to surrender their child as a result of parental illness.

Considering you might foster children? Then explore ‘Rainbow Rewards’

Rainbow currently pay a fostering bonus of £500 meaning that if you are in a position to refer someone to be a carer: you’ll receive the money once your referral has been approved (and the first placement has been accepted). Foster carers transferring to the Rainbow may also benefit from a special bonus once approved

Foster parents sought in India

Foster parents needed in India

with us, this will be a payment made for foster carers who are already looking after youngsters on a long-term basis.

And the good news at the end of this particular rainbow…we have now passed the 1,000th follower on Twitter. A big thank you to all our followers – and all the all the writers who followed Rainbow in our ongoing drive to promote literacy amongst young people. Please follow us at https://twitter.com/Rainbowfosterin – and hopefully post a few likes for some of our tweets.

More Fostering News – to keep you informed and up to date

There’s always something of interest in the fostering world. To catch up with our latest piece ‘Scotland’s youth struggling with mental health issues’ – as well as other topical stories, visit: http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK

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