10. Procedure in case of Orphan and Abandoned Children.-
It shall be the duty of every person, whether an individual or a nursing home or hospital or any other institution who or which finds an abandoned child or an orphan child without family support, to report the fact immediately either to the officer in charge of the nearest police station or the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) or Childline (Tel 1098) or the Specialised Adoption Agency in that area, as is practicable.
11. Admission. -
(1) In case an abandoned child or an orphan child is received by a Specialised Adoption Agency, it shall admit the child to its home on a temporary basis and such admission shall be finalised only after authorisation by the Child Welfare Committee.
(2) The details of all children admitted by a Specialised Adoption Agency shall be entered in the Master Admission Register in the format as at Schedule-I.
(3) On admission of the child, the Specialised Adoption Agency shall give a name to the child, if not already given, record his or her brief social background, identification marks, height and weight and also cause medical examination of the child conducted.
(4) The child shall be photographed and if the child is abandoned, a report along with a photograph of the child shall be filed with the nearest police station within twenty-four hours of finding the child.
(5) The Specialised Adoption Agency shall take all necessary steps for the welfare of the child as per these Guidelines.
12. Production of child before CWC. -
(1) The Specialised Adoption Agency shall produce the orphan or abandoned child, who is in their temporary care, before the Child Welfare Committee within twenty-four hours of receiving such a child, excluding the time taken for the journey.
(2) A copy of the report filed with the police station in whose jurisdiction the child was found abandoned shall also be submitted to the Child Welfare Committee.
(3) In case of a child under two years of age, who is unable to travel because of medical reasons, the Specialised Adoption Agency shall send a written report along with the photograph of the child to the Committee within twenty four hours and produce the child before the Committee as soon as the child is medically fit along with the medical certificate to that effect.
(4) The Specialised Adoption Agency shall make a report to the Child Welfare Committee on the circumstances under which the child came to their notice and efforts made by them for informing the police and the missing person’s squad or missing persons bureau in the State and the Centre.
13. Restoration efforts. -
(1) The Specialised Adoption Agency shall make restoration efforts in addition to the efforts made by the Child Welfare Committee to trace the parents or biological family of the abandoned child.
(2) The Specialised Adoption Agency shall also conduct an independent enquiry for the same purpose.
(3) In case of children below two years of age, the Specialized Adoption Agency shall make a notification in at least one leading national newspaper and one regional language newspaper having circulation in its area.
(4) A notification may also be made in a newspaper of the language spoken by the child and the notification shall be released in the area where the child was found abandoned.
(5) For children of two years or above, a television or radio announcement shall also be made.
(6) In case of children below two years of age, the process prescribed at sub paragraph (2) to (4) shall be completed within a period of sixty days from the date the child is found and in case of children of two years or above of age, the time period shall be four months.
(7) In case a claimant appears for the child, the Specialized Adoption Agency shall refer the case to the Child Welfare Committee and the Special Adoption Agency shall abide by the decision taken by the Child Welfare Committee.
(8) In case, even after the lapse of the time period mentioned in sub paragraph (6), no claimant comes forward to claim the child, the Specialised Adoption Agency shall submit a declaration to the Child Welfare Committee stating that there has been no claimant for the child.
(9) A report on the efforts made by the Specialised Adoption Agency for tracing the child’s background shall also be submitted to the Child Welfare Committee to assist them in taking an informed decision.
(10)The child shall not be considered for adoption until the Child Welfare Committee issues a Certificate declaring him or her to be legally free for adoption.
14. Procedure in case of Surrendered Children. -
(1) A child may be surrendered in case: -
(i) The child is born as a consequence of non-consensual relationship;
(ii) The child is born of an unwed mother or out of wedlock;
(iii) One of the biological parents of the child is dead and the living parent is incapacitated or unfit to take care;
(iv) The parents of the child are compelled to relinquish him or her due to physical, emotional and social factors beyond their control.
(v) In all cases of surrender child, the admission procedure as laid down in sub paragraph 11 (2), (3), (4) and (5) shall be followed.
(2) In case the child is surrendered through the Specialized Adoption Agency, the procedure will be as follows:-
(i) The Specialised Adoption Agency shall produce the child to be surrendered along with the surrendering parent(s) before the Child Welfare Committee within twenty-four hours of receiving such child, excluding the time taken for the journey.
(ii) On directions of the Child Welfare Committee, the Specialised Adoption Agency may continue to keep the child in its temporary care until his or her restoration or rehabilitation.
(iii) In case of a single mother, unwilling to appear before the Child Welfare Committee, one member of the Child Welfare Committee, preferably female, may meet the mother separately.
(vi) In case of biological parents surrendering a child, this process shall be before a two member Child Welfare Committee.
(v) In case the Committee is not sitting, the child may be produced before the single member of the Committee as per the provisions contained in sub-section (2) of section 30.
(3) The information to be submitted to the Child Welfare Committee by the Specialised Adoption Agency, among other details, shall contain the following namely:-
(a) The details of the biological mother and father, including:-
(i) The social and psychological background;
(ii) The proof of address and identity ;
(iii) Known medical history of both biological parents and
(iv) Details of close relatives, if available.
(b) The details of the child being surrendered, including:--
(i) Social and psychological background;
(ii) Details of sibling(s), if any;
(iii) Known medical history;
(vi) Date and place of birth along with birth certificate, if available.
15. Completing the surrender process. -
(1) In case the parents or one of parents approaches a Specialised Adoption Agency for surrendering the child, the agency shall make all efforts, including counselling, to prevent surrender of such child.
(2) Efforts shall also be made by the Child Welfare Committee for exploring the possibilities of parents retaining the child by counselling of the parents and explaining the consequences of surrender.
(3) If the parents are still unwilling to retain the child, such a child shall be kept initially in the custody of the SAA.
(4) If the surrender is inevitable, a deed of surrender as provided in Schedule-II shall be executed and signed by the person or persons surrendering the child and two other witnesses in the presence of the Child Welfare Committee.
(5) If a child born after wedlock is surrendered, both parents should sign the surrender document and in case one of them is dead, proof of death in support thereof is to be furnished.
(6) Where the death certificate is not available, a certificate from local Panchayat or Municipal authority should be produced.
(7) When a child is born to a married couple but is surrendered by one biological parent and the whereabouts of the other parent is not known, the child shall be treated as abandoned and further procedures shall be followed accordingly.
(8) In case of a child born out of wedlock, only the mother herself can surrender the child and if she is a minor, the signature of an accompanying close relative will be obtained on the surrender document.
(9) If the surrender is effected by any person other than the biological parent(s), the child shall be treated as abandoned and the same procedure shall be followed as that for an abandoned child.
(10) The Specialised Adoption Agency shall facilitate the surrender process before the Child Welfare Committee.
(11) The Specialised Adoption Agency and the Child Welfare Committee shall ensure that the surrendering parents or the legal guardian is made aware that they can reconsider the surrender and reclaim the surrendered child only within a period of sixty days from the date of such surrender.
(12) In all cases of surrender, confidentiality shall be maintained by the authorities and agencies involved in the process.
(13 ) The Specialised Adoption Agency or the CWC shall ensure that a copy of the Surrender Deed is retained by the surrendering parents or legal guardian, as the case may be, for reconsideration of their decision to surrender the child.
(14) The Committee shall declare the surrendered child legally free for adoption after the expiry of a reconsideration period of sixty days.
16. Declaration of a child legally free for adoption by the Child Welfare Committee.-
(1) If all efforts for tracing the parents of an orphan or an abandoned child placed with a Specialised Adoption Agency on a temporary basis, have failed, and, in case of surrendered children, if the reclaim period of sixty days is over, the particular agency shall approach the Child Welfare Committee for declaring the child legally free for adoption.
(2) After satisfying itself that the due procedure, as laid down in the Act and the rules made there under, has been followed and that nobody has come forward to claim the child within the stipulated period, the Child Welfare Committee shall issue a Certificate declaring the child legally free for adoption.
(3) The certificate under sub paragraph (2) shall be made as per format provided in Schedule-III.
(4) No child of the age of seven years or above, who can understand and express his or her opinion, shall be declared legally free for adoption without his or her consent.
(5) A child becomes eligible for adoption only after the Child Welfare Committee has declared the child legally free for adoption through a certificate as mentioned in sub Para (b) above.