RECOGNITION, INSPECTION AND FUNCTION OF ADOPTION AGENCIES IN INDIA

RECOGNITION, INSPECTION AND FUNCTION OF ADOPTION AGENCIES

Under Adoption Regulations 2017

23. Recognition of Specialised Adoption Agency

– (1) Any Child Care Institution, intending to be recognised as Specialised Adoption Agency to place children in in-country and inter-country adoption, shall submit application as per Schedule XXVI, along with the following documents to the State Government concerned, namely:-

(a) a copy of the registration certificate under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of 1860), the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 (2 of 1882) or any other corresponding law for the time being in force;

(b) a copy of its Memorandum of Association, rules, regulations and bye-laws;

(c) a copy of the registration certificate as Child Care Institution;

(d) a list of management committee or executive committee or board members showing that the majority of the members of such committee or board are Indian citizens;

(e) annual reports including audited accounts for the last three years;

(f) resolution by the agency supporting the decision for placing orphan, abandoned or surrendered children in adoption;

(g) undertaking of the chief functionary of the Child Care Institution in its letter head to abide by the relevant rules inforce in respective States and these Regulations;

(h) undertaking of the chief functionary of the Child Care Institution in its letter head to regularly update data on Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System and to have necessary facilities for the same;

(i) supporting documents indicating that the organisation has been engaged in child protection and welfare activities;

(j) list of children in the institution; and

(k) list of professional and child care staff.

(2) The State Government shall issue a certificate of recognition to a Child Care Institution as a Specialised Adoption Agency within three months from the date of application, if the Child Care Institution is found fit to be considered as a Specialised Adoption Agency, based upon inspection conducted for the purpose.

(3) If an organisation is not involved in institutional care but has the capacity and expertise to ensure quality non-institutional care for infants and young children through trained foster care givers on their panel, the State Government may also recognise such organisation as a Specialised Adoption Agency.

(4) The recognition to a Specialised Adoption Agency to place children both in in-country and inter-country adoption shall be for a period of five years, unless it is revoked earlier on the grounds as mentioned in regulation 25.

24. Criteria and procedure for renewal of recognition of Specialised Adoption Agency.- (1) The State

Government shall take into consideration the following factors before renewal of recognition of a Specialised Adoption Agency, namely:-

(a) whether the Specialised Adoption Agency has satisfactorily performed in adoption placement;

(b) whether it has regularly updated data on Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System and meeting the timelines specified for Specialised Adoption Agency in these Regulations;

(c) whether it has followed the provisions of these regulations as also instructions issued by the State Government, State Adoption Resource Agency and the Authority in handling matters related to adoption;

(d) whether it indulged in any malpractice;

(e) whether it made proper utilisation of the adoption fee; and

(f) whether it maintains the standards of child care as provided in Schedule XIII.

(2) The Specialised Adoption Agency shall apply six months before the expiry of its recognition for renewal with the following documents and information, namely:-

(a) number of children restored to biological parents, relatives or guardians during the period of last recognition with details;

(b) number and details of children placed in in-country and inter-country adoption and details of post-adoption follow-up thereof during the period of last recognition;

(c) details of year wise receipt of adoption fee and its utilisation during the period of last recognition;

(d) an affidavit declaring that it has been regularly updating the data on Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System; and

(e) an affidavit stating that it agrees to abide by these regulations as also the instructions issued by the State Government or State Adoption Resource Agency or the Authority from time to time.

(3) The recognition to a Specialised Adoption Agency shall be renewed by the State Government before the expiry of existing recognition, for a period of five years, if the Specialised Adoption Agency is found fulfilling the eligibility factors specified in sub-regulation (1) and furnishing the documents and information specified in sub-regulation (2), and on the basis of inspection conducted for the purpose.

(4) In case the Specialised Adoption Agency has applied for recognition or renewal with the State Government and the provisional registration certificate has not been issued by the State Government within one month from the date of application, the proof of receipt of application for registration shall be treated as provisional recognition to run the agency for a maximum period of six months.

(5) In case the renewal of recognition of a Specialised Adoption Agency is pending, all the pending adoption cases shall be allowed to proceed subject to all other provisions of these regulations being fulfilled.

25. Suspension or revocation of recognition of Specialised Adoption Agency.- (1) The State Government, shall act upon, suo-motu or on the recommendation of State Adoption Resource Agency or the Authority, either suspend or revoke the recognition granted to a Specialised Adoption Agency on any of the grounds specified in sub-regulation (2).

(2) The recognition of a Specialised Adoption Agency may be suspended on any one or more of the following grounds, namely:-

(a) violation of any of the provisions of these Act or the rules made thereunder, relating to adoption as well as these regulations;

(b) furnishing false information or forged documents to State Adoption Resource Agency or the State Government or the Authority or in Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System;

(c) incomplete or false information to prospective adoptive parents, Child Welfare Committee or District Child Protection Unit about the child or any adoption related process;

(d) failure to update data online in the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System;

(e) failure to submit reports or data within the time limits specified in these regulations;

(f) adverse findings of the inspection team of the Central Government, the Authority, State Government or State Adoption Resource Agency concerned, regarding the functioning of the Specialised Adoption Agency;

(g) if professional social worker and qualified child care staff are not employed;

(h) financial irregularities or malpractices or receiving any donation whether in kind or cash from prospective adoptive parents or adoptive parents;

(i) misuse or diversion of adoption fee or grant received from the Government for the purposes other than the purposes for which they were received;

(j) unethical practices which may also include inducing single mothers or biological parents to relinquish their child or illegally sourcing the child;

(k) divulging information of biological mother or parents or adoptee to public in violation of the principles of confidentiality;

(l) non-compliance of instructions issued from time to time by the Authority, State Government concerned or the State Adoption Resource Agency; and

(m) abuse or neglect of children in the Specialised Adoption Agency.

(3) No order for suspension or revocation of authorisation shall be passed without giving an opportunity to the agency to offer its explanation.

(4) After suspension of recognition of a Specialised Adoption Agency, the State Government or the State Adoption Resource Agency concerned shall conduct necessary enquiries within a maximum period of six months, and if charges are proven, the State Government concerned shall revoke the recognition of the Specialised Adoption Agency.

(5) In case of revocation of recognition of a Specialised Adoption Agency, the State Government concerned shall prepare an alternate rehabilitation plan for the children in that home, including shifting them to another Specialised Adoption Agency, within thirty days.

(6) In the event of suspension or revocation of recognition of the Specialised Adoption Agency, the cases where referrals have been accepted by the prospective adoptive parents shall be allowed to proceed for final adoption, subject to all other provisions of these regulations being fulfilled.

26. Inspection of Specialised Adoption Agencies.- (1) The State Government concerned shall inspect the Child Care Institution before considering its recognition or renewal as a Specialised Adoption Agency.

(2) The State Government or State Adoption Resource Agency concerned shall conduct annual inspections of Specialised Adoption Agencies to ensure that they are performing efficiently and as per norms laid down in these regulations and shall also take necessary remedial measures, wherever required.

(3) The premises of Specialised Adoption Agency including the places where the children are staying and its relevant records shall be open to inspection by the Central Government, the Authority, the State Government, State Adoption Resource Agency, Child Welfare Committee concerned and any other agency or person authorised by respective State Government and the format for inspection shall be as provided in Schedule XXV.

(4) Whenever inspection is conducted in a Specialised Adoption Agency, the following shall be scrutinised or examined, namely:-

(a) that the agency is discharging its role and performing its functions efficiently in accordance with the provisions of these regulations;

(b) that adoption, is being pursued by the organisation as a welfare activity in the interest of children, and not as a commercial activity;

(c) total number and details of children actually placed in in-country and inter-country adoption;

(d) records pertaining to adoptions of children, starting from their admission up to the legal adoption decree and follow-up progress as well as the related registers;

(e) whether expeditious and sufficient efforts have been made by the Specialised Adoption Agency to place children in adoption;

(f) whether the agency has submitted annual reports, audited statements of accounts and monthly reports including the adoption data to the State Government or State Adoption Resource Agency concerned and the adoption data to the Authority regularly and within the stipulated time;

(g) whether the Specialised Adoption Agency is regularly updating data and reports in the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System on time;

(h) whether the Specialised Adoption Agency is maintaining and providing quality child care facilities in the institution as provided under these regulations and the minimum standards of child care shall be as specified in Schedule XIII;

(i) financial records including receipt of fees paid by the prospective adoptive parents and utilisation of the adoption fee; and

(j) whether there is any instance of malpractice against the Specialised Adoption Agency.

27. Entitlement to grants under other Government notified schemes.- A Specialised Adoption Agency is entitled to receive grants-in-aid under other Government notified schemes, subject to the fulfillment of terms and conditions under such scheme.

28. Agencies to maintain accounts.- (1) The Specialised Adoption Agency shall utilise funds received as adoption fee in accordance with norms as may be prescribed by the Authority from time to time.

(2) The Specialised Adoption Agency shall maintain proper accounts including utilisation of adoption fee and Government grant under other Government notified schemes to be audited by a chartered accountant every year.

(3) An attested copy of the audited accounts of the organization alongwith its audit report, a copy of the annual report and report in accordance with the provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (49 of 1976) shall be furnished by every Specialised Adoption Agency within six months from the date of closing of the financial year to State Adoption Resource Agency or the State Government concerned.

29. Functions of Specialised Adoption Agencies.- The Specialised Adoption Agency shall perform the following functions, in addition to those assigned to them under these regulations, to facilitate placement of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children in adoption, namely:-

(1) Function towards children: Every Specialised Adoption Agency shall:-

(a) be responsible for the care, protection and well-being of every child in its charge and shall cater to their health needs; emotional and psychological needs; educational and training needs; leisure and recreational activities; protection from any kind of abuse, neglect and exploitation; social mainstreaming and restoration or as the case may be and follow-up;

(b) report all cases of admissions, restorations, transfers, death and adoption of children, as well as about children missing from the institution, if any to the Child Welfare Committee, District Child Protection Unit, State Adoption Resource Agency and the Authority through Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System, designated portal for missing child and police;

(c) submit the status of every orphan, abandoned and surrendered child on the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System, which is accessible on the website http://www.cara.nic.in;

(d) shall upload the certificate, issued by the Child Welfare Committee, declaring the child legally free for adoption in Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System within forty-eight hours from the receipt of such certificate;

(e) prepare the Child Study Report of all orphan, abandoned and surrendered children, through its social worker, and upload them in Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System, within seven days from the date such children are declared legally free for adoption by the Child Welfare Committee;

(f) arrange medical tests, as provided in Schedule IV, for all children admitted into its home and prepare the Medical Examination Report through its pediatrician or doctor for uploading the same in Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System, within seven days from the date such children are declared legally free for adoption by the Child Welfare Committee;

(g) prepare individual care plan for each child following the principle of the best interests of the child and the care options in the following order of preferences:-

(i) restoration to the biological family or legal guardian;

(ii) in-country adoption;

(iii) inter-country adoption;

(iv) foster care; and

(v) institutional care;

(h) create a memory album, which shall include a photo album of the child, history and details of the child’s life (details of surrendering parents not to be mentioned), and interests of the child, which shall be handed over to the adoptive family along with the medical history of the child at the time of handing over the child to the prospective adoptive parents in pre-adoption foster care;

(i) make efforts to place each child in adoption, who has been declared legally free for adoption by Child Welfare Committee;

(j) be responsible to complete referral process of a child to prospective adoptive parents and the legal procedure related to adoption as provided in these regulations;

(k) prepare every adoptable child psychologically for his assimilation with the adoptive family, wherever required;

(l) facilitate interaction of the child with prospective adoptive parents, wherever required;

(m) ensure that siblings and twins are placed in the same family, as far as possible;

(n) preserve adoption records in a manner, that such record is accessible to authorised persons only;

(o) facilitate root search by adoptees in the manner as mentioned in regulation 44.

(2) Functions towards biological parents: Every Specialised Adoption Agency shall:-

(a) treat biological parents of a surrendered child with respect and dignity throughout the surrender process;

(b) maintain confidentiality of unmarried mother and biological parents;

(c) counsel the surrendering parents and inform them about a possible root search, in future by their child;

(d) encourage the biological parents surrendering a child to provide maximum information about the background and development of the child as well as their own health;

(e) explain to the parents implication of surrendering their child including possibility of inter-country adoption;

(f) ensure that the consent for surrender and adoption is given by the parents without any coercion or monetary or material consideration;

(g) have no commitment or agreement with biological parents regarding adoption of a child prior to his birth;

(h) inform the parents that they would have a re-consideration period of sixty days from the date of surrender during which they may take back the child.

(3) Functions towards prospective adoptive parents: Every Specialised Adoption Agency shall:-

(a) treat prospective adoptive parents with respect and extend due courtesy, assistance and advice;

(b) facilitate registration of prospective adoptive parents in Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System in case they face any difficulty;

(c) counsel the prospective adoptive parents, through an authorised professional social worker or counsellor, to make them aware of the process of adoption and to ascertain the level of their preparedness for the same which include the following, namely:-

(i) acceptance of adoption as an alternative way of building their family;

(ii) preference for child to be adopted;

(iii) emotional readiness to adopt an unrelated child;

(iv) concerns about the social background of the child and genetic factors;

(v) attitude towards parenting and disciplining;

(vi) sharing the fact of adoption with the child, when the child grows up;

(vii) dealing with root search by the adopted child, when the child grows up;

(viii) any other issue that might emerge during the interactions;

(d) complete the Home Study Report of prospective adoptive parents who have opted for the home study by them, within one month from the date of their registration and submission of required documents;

(e) continuously update the prospective adoptive parents of the current status and procedure to be followed during the entire adoption process after the child has been reserved by the prospective adoptive parents;

(f) provide video clips of the children to prospective adoptive parents and facilitate their video calls to children after referral;

(g) provide information to prospective adoptive parents about the medical history of the child and the health status of a special need child, if such a child is proposed for adoption;

(h) provide the immunisation record and recent diagnostic reports as well as any vital information relating to child including his food and social habits and memory album to the prospective adoptive parents;

(i) a copy of the adoption order from the court and the birth certificate or affidavit shall also be provided to the prospective adoptive parents as and when available;

(j) place a child in pre-adoption foster care on completion of referral and after observing necessary procedural formalities as laid down in these regulations;

(k) extend post adoption services including counselling to the prospective adoptive parents, if required;

(l) not receive any payment, other than as specified in the norms prescribed by the Authority from time to time;

(m) advise the prospective adoptive parents to contact adoptive families to understand the process of adoption.

(4) Functions relating to counseling: The functions of the Specialised Adoption Agency in respect of counselling
shall include the following, namely:-

(a) counselling of biological parents in case of surrender;

(b) pre-adoption counselling of prospective adoptive parents during preparation of Home Study Report and matching process and linking them to the counseling center at the Authority or State Adoption Resource Agency or District Child Protection Unit, wherever required;

(c) counselling of older children before and during adoption;

(d) counselling of adoptive parents whenever required; and

(e) post-adoption counselling of the adoptees, when contacted by them in search of their roots.

(5) Every Specialised Adoption Agency shall set up at its own home to receive abandoned children and may set up cradle baby points at primary health care centers, hospitals, nursing homes, short-stay and Swadhar Homes for Women.

(6) Documentation and record keeping:

(a) The Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System web portal of the Authority shall be the database and registration system which shall be mandatorily used by all State Adoption Resource Authorities, District Child Protection Units, Specialised Adoption Agencies and Child Care Institutions for the purpose of adoption.

(b) Every Specialised Adoption Agency shall prepare an individual care plan for each child, based on age and gender specific needs in respect of the following, namely:-

(i) health and medical needs;

(ii) emotional and psychological needs;

(iii) educational and training needs;

(iv) leisure, creativity and play;

(v) attachments and relationships;

(vi) protection from all forms of abuse, neglect and maltreatment;

(vii) rehabilitation including reunion with family, adoption and other non-institutional care;

(viii) social mainstreaming; and

(ix) follow-up after rehabilitation or restoration.

(c) Every Specialised Adoption Agency shall keep the following documents in the case file of each child, namely:-

(i) case history and social investigation report of the child;

(ii) interim care order as well as the order declaring the child legally free for adoption by the Child Welfare Committee and the Deed of Surrender in case of a relinquished child;

(iii) Child Study Report, Medical Examination Report and immunization record of the child;

(iv) photographs of the child taken at intervals of every six months;

(v) application form, documents and Home Study Report of the prospective adoptive parents;

(vi) adoption petition, adoption order and birth certificate of the child;

(vii) post-placement progress reports of the child.

(d) Every Specialised Adoption Agency shall maintain the following records namely:-

(i) master admission register;

(ii) medical and development file of the child;

(iii) case file of the child;

(iv) attendance register of the children and staff;

(v) register of adopted children with details of adoptive parents (date of registration, date of Home Study Report, date(s) of referral of child or children, date of court order, date of handing over of the child to prospective adoptive parents, etc.);

(vi) vouchers, cashbook, ledger, journal and annual accounts;

(vii) grant and adoption fees receipt and utilization register;

(viii) stock register; and

(ix) record of minutes of meetings of the management committee and Adoption Committee (to be maintained separately).

(7) Other functions: Every Specialised Adoption Agency shall also:-

(a) organise training and orientation activities to spread awareness about adoption programme;

(b) train its childcare and professional staff about the procedures provided in the provision of these Regulations; and

(c) ensure that each case of inter-country adoption of prospective adoptive parents is disposed of within four months from the date of receipt of application with the assistance of Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency, Authority and State Agency as provided in sub-section (2) of section 62 of the Act.

30. Functions of Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency.- The Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency shall perform the following functions, namely:-

(1) register the prospective adoptive parents interested to adopt children from India and to complete their Home Study Report expeditiously;

(2) upload attested copies of the adoption application of the prospective adoptive parents in the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System and forward the original of the same to the allotted Specialised Adoption Agency;

(3) follow-up with Specialised Adoption Agency for ensuring early adoption after receipt of No Objection Certificate for the adoption from the Authority;

(4) give orientation to the prospective adoptive parents on culture, language and food of the place to which the adopted child belongs;

(5) ensure the submission of post-adoption follow-up of the progress of adopted children and to address the cases of disruption, as specified in regulation 19;

(6) arrange get-togethers of children of Indian origin and their adoptive families from time to time with the involvement of the Indian diplomatic mission concerned;

(7) facilitate root search by older adoptees; and

(8) fulfill the legal requirements of the host country as well as the terms and conditions of the authorisation given by the Authority.

31. Criteria and procedure for authorisation of foreign agencies.- (1) A foreign adoption agency desirous of sponsoring applications of foreign adoptive parents for adopting an Indian child shall make an application to the Authority along with the recommendation of the Central Authority or Government department concerned of that country, through the Indian diplomatic mission.

(2) The authorisation to foreign adoption agency may be given by the Authority for a maximum period of five years and the documents required to be attached with the application shall be as under:-

(a) memorandum or bye-laws, copies of registration status, latest license issued by the Government department concerned to undertake international adoptions, list of board or executive members, list of countries it is working with, accreditation certificate and its annual reports or financial statements for last two years;

(b) an undertaking signed by the head or chief executive of the organisation stating that the agency will abide by the provisions of these regulations;

(c) an undertaking by the agency that in case of disruption or repatriation of the adopted children, it shall abide by the specific provisions laid down in these regulations;

(d) an undertaking by the agency to send an annual report to the Authority in the month of April every year on the status of children placed in adoption from India;

(e) copy of adoption law or adoption regulations or adoption rules of their country;

(f) a list of staff of the agency, recommendation or authorisation from the Central Authority or competent authority to work with India;

(g) recommendation letter from Indian diplomatic mission abroad and the Central Authority or Government department of the receiving country.

(3) The Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency is required to apply for renewal of its authorisation, ninety days prior to expiry of its authorisation, as per the procedure given at sub-regulations (1) and (2) alongwith the following details, namely:-

(a) list of children placed in adoption through the Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency alongwith their citizenship status; and

(b) disruption, if any.

(4) In case an Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency requires to appoint a representative in India for facilitating its adoption cases, it shall obtain prior approval of the Authority.

32. Suspension or revocation of authorisation.- The grounds of suspension or revocation of the authorisation of an Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency shall be as follows:-

(1) if the agency violates or fails to abide by the provisions of these regulations;

(2) if the license or recognition or accreditation of the agency is suspended or revoked by the appropriate authority of that country;

(3) if the agency fails to upload adoption applications or the post-adoption follow-up reports in the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System from time to time.