*****adoption: Indians remain averse to accepting children with special needs – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/indians-remain-averse-to-accepting-children-with-special-needs/articleshow/92010287.cms

Synopsis

Fewer than 50 children with special needs found a home within India in the past three financial years, accounting for less than 1% of the total 9,443 in-country adoptions between 2019-20 and 2021-22.

Even as Indians are opening up to the idea of adoption by single parents or adopting a sibling for their biological child, they remain averse to accepting children with special needs.

Fewer than 50 children with special needs found a home within India in the past three financial years, accounting for less than 1% of the total 9,443 in-country adoptions between 2019-20 and 2021-22.

However, applicants from outside India are considerably more open to embracing children with special needs. Such children comprised 39.1%, 56.1% and 73% of the total inter-country adoptions in 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively. The category covers non-resident Indians, overseas citizens of India and foreign prospective adoptive parents.

“The motivation of parents outside India is different. They are mentally prepared to take care of such children. Also, it is not just the parents who adopt such kids but the entire country does that,” a senior Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) official told ET on condition of anonymity. “Such applicants have to compulsorily undertake a 34-hour course in their country before applying for adoption.

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They also undergo several preadoption counselling sessions.” CARA is a statutory body of the ministry of women & child development.

It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to facilitate in-country adoptions and regulate inter-country adoptions through Child Adoption Resource Information & Guidance System (CARINGS), an online platform aimed at bringing transparency in the adoption process and curtailing delays at various levels.

Adoption of children with special needs is much faster and simpler through CARA. The profile of each such child is available on the CARINGS website for all Indian applicants to see and choose from. “There is no waiting list. Anyone can reserve the child after having a look at the profile. If they have any doubts regarding the exact anomaly with the child, we consult the AIIMS panel and get their fresh profile ready,” said the official.

As per the CARA data, shared exclusively with ET, only 11, eight and 29 children with special needs were adopted in 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively, even as the total number of applications for adoptions grew during this period. Maharashtra (159), Madhya Pradesh (124) and West Bengal (122) were the top three states in terms of children with special needs available for adoption.

With most Indian applicants wanting to experience all stages of a baby, more than 70% domestic applicants sought a healthy baby in the 0-2 age group. “As a result, older kids, especially those who are six-plus and those with special needs mostly remain (unadopted) in child care institutions,” said a senior women & child development ministry official, who did not wish to be identified.

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