Premalatha, Where Are India's Children?
Stories, Uncategorized

BLOG POST: Interview with WAIC Caseworker Premalatha: “Let’s keep a smile forever on a child’s face”

Premalatha Gade, age 24, is from Bhadrachalam, Telangana. She completed her schooling in Bhadrachalam, then moved to Hyderabad for her higher studies where she completed a Masters in Social Work from Osmania University. Premalatha was always interested in making change in society, and this is what drove her to engage in field work with WAIC. This is Premalatha’s first job since graduating, and we are very happy to have her on board!

What motivates you to work to review children’s cases and assess if they should be considered for legal adoption?
According to me, one smile on a child’s face will lighten the whole day! I want to experience that healthy smile on the faces of children who live in CCIs when they reach a permanent family through adoption. I believe our work is going to keep that smile forever on a child’s face and that motivates me every day to work for the children with WAIC.

What does your daily work with WAIC consist of? Can you describe a typical day?
My daily work involves visiting Child Care Institutions (CCIs) for data collection, attending Child Welfare Committee (CWC)  sittings, and working with the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) to follow-up on the cases of children who are being evaluated for adoption eligibility.  It involves carefully evaluating  each and every child’s case for  adoption eligibility and bringing the eligible cases in front of the CWC to initiate the process. I then follow up with the DCPU until the child is uploaded to the Central Adoption Resource Authority database, where the child will eventually be matched with a waiting parent.

Can you describe your most satisfying achievement with WAIC?
There are quite a few satisfying achievements after I started working with WAIC. To list a few that stand out to me:

  • A child was in the shelter for 6 years and through our work she came into the legal adoption pool. Soon after, I saw her being adopted and going to her permanent family. This brought me extreme joy and happiness.
  • I am happy to see that the legal adoption pool in Telangana has tangibly increased because of our intervention.
  • When a 17-year old girl finally reached the legal adoption pool!

What do you think WAIC could do / what difference could you make with more funding?
With more funding, we can expand our work in the entire State of Telangana so that more children can come into the legal adoption pool. We can also spread the message about Safe Surrender more widely at the grass root level – this is so important so that the general public is aware how children can be legally and safely surrendered to a Specialised Adoption Agency rather than abandoned in a shelter where they may have no hope of being adopted.
Finally, with funding we can also do policy research to clarify guardian status, visitation frequency, etc. so that no child is left in shelters unnecessarily.

Are there individual stories of children that have stood out to you personally? Please share.
One girl child was admitted to the specialised adoption agency when she was 5 years old. Her process was started by the SAA but never completed. The child was transferred to a CCI when she turned 6 years old. Her case was not reviewed after that. When we came upon the child’s case, she was already 10 years old. We diligently worked on her case and followed-up to ensure her paperwork was completed by the District Child Protection Unit and facilitated her to be declared legally free for adoption. Once the child reached the legal adoption pool, she was adopted into a forever family soon after. We are extremely happy for the child and hope for a bright future for her. In fact, that day, we saw the child go with her family and it was an emotional moment for us as a team and a few happy tears were shed.

Children want to go to families, even older children. A 17-year old child who should have been in the legal adoption pool years ago was declared legally free for adoption because we highlighted her case. I am so happy for her and I sincerely hope she gets adopted into a good family soon who can give her all the opportunities in life she deserves.

There are many more cases; it is hard to forget the children which we have helped to declare legally free for adoption and it is such satisfying work. There are challenges we face, but as a team we have learnt to deal with every challenge as a learning and move forward through those challenges. We hope all the children we have facilitated to be declared legally free for adoption reach permanent families soon.

What message do you have for someone considering donating to WAIC?
With every rupee of your donation, more children in CCI’s will be evaluated for adoption and potentially reach a forever family. The adoption process is not a single step process. There are lot of stages and effort that goes into getting a child declared legally free for adoption. We need donations to ensure these processes happen and happen consistently.

With every donation we believe you are gifting the hope of a family for the child. This is also a small step to change the thinking of the society from children in shelters to children with families. 

We need your support to continue our work till every eligible child in shelters is brought into the legal adoption process

You can support Premalatha’s work in Telangana by donating at www.waic.in/donate

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