Adoption is a process through which a child who is permanently separated from biological parents because her/his parents have died, or have abandoned or surrendered her/him, becomes a legitimate child of a new set of parent(s) referred to as adoptive parents with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that are attached to this relationship.
Many children are at risk of abandonment, exploitation, neglect and destitution because of poor socio-economic conditions of their families. Poor families often place their children into institutional care as a poverty coping measure. In many other cases children run away from their families because of abuse and/or exploitative conditions and often do not want to be reunited with their families. Hence, they are placed in institutions. As a result, large numbers of children are forced to spend their lives in institutions. It is an accepted fact that institutionalization of children should be the last resort and the family-based non-institutional care is a better option. The Government of India realizes the importance of reintegrating, to the extent possible, institutionalized children into families. To that end, individual cases of children in institutions will be periodically reviewed and the reintegration into their biological family facilitated with necessary support and supervised financial assistance.
Fostering is an arrangement whereby a child lives, usually on a temporary basis, with an extended or unrelated family member. Such an arrangement ensures that the birth parents do not lose any of their parental rights or responsibilities. This arrangement shall cater to children who are not legally free for adoption, and whose parents are unable to care for them due to illness, death, desertion by one parent or any other crisis. The aim is to eventually re-unite the child with his/her own family when the family circumstances improve, and thus prevent institutionalization of children in difficult circumstances.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 provides for institutional care for juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection up to the age of 18 years. However, most of the children in care have nowhere to go once they reach the age of 18 and are discharged from their institutions. In addition, as empirically observed, institutional life does not prepare children well for life outside an institution. They are unable to sustain themselves and are easily affected by negative influences. There is a need to prepare these children to sustain themselves during the transition from institutional to independent life. The District Child Protection Society shall be responsible for developing an After-Care Programme. Based on the case to case basis, a JJB/CWC can order placement of a juvenile/child in the After-Care Programme.