Did You Know?
There is an alternative to the horrendous news we hear everyday about the state of unwanted children in India.
When a vulnerable parent or guardian does not have the capacity to raise their child or is unwilling to raise their child, unsafely abandoning the child, trafficking, illegal adoption, or putting the child forever in a shelter are NOT the only options. The parent or guardian can safely and legally surrender the child at the nearest specialised adoption agency, terminating their parental rights, and letting the child enter the legal adoption process.
What is Safe Surrender and why is it critical?
The Juvenile Justice Act of India of India allows parents and guardians to legally surrender their child without any consequences. This child-centric provision ensures that children are pulled out of potentially life-threatening, neglectful, abusive, or dangerous situations by providing an alternative path to their parents/guardians.
Without the option to safely surrender a child, a vulnerable parent may continue to keep the child in an unsafe situation or give away the child in illegal adoption/trafficking. An unwanted child may be thrown away by the parents, causing lifelong physical injuries and mental trauma, assuming the child even survives. Allowing a parent or guardian to safely and legally surrender a child, first and foremost protects the child, makes the child visible to child protection agencies, and brings the child into the legal adoption framework.
Why we ALL need to understand Safe Surrender?
As a society, we judge and shame parents or guardians who either don’t want to raise their children or do not have the capacity to raise their children. This judgement ultimately hurts the child. Instead, we should create awareness about #SafeSurrender and guide a vulnerable parent/guardian to the nearest adoption agency if such a need arises.
"We have the power to change this,
spread awareness about #SafeSurrender"
Work done so far
For Children’s Day in 2018, we ran our first ever digital campaign for 6 weeks to build public awareness about the state of abandoned and orphaned children in India, and why they are not reaching positive outcomes despite having the right laws in place.
We sent an open letter to our honourable Prime Minister, which was read over 1500 times and shared on Facebook over 1000 times. Over 250 emails and social media messages were sent by concerned citizens to the concerned government authorities raising their voice for these vulnerable children. Hindustan Times and Sakal Times newspapers covered the campaign. It was a promising start to engage the public in the fate of the most vulnerable children.
In collaboration with Families of Joy Foundation, we submitted a proposal to Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) to better categorise and highlight children with special needs to improve their adoption rate. Here is a copy of the proposal: Proposal to Increase Special Needs Adoptions under CARA
Recently, CARA increased the visibility of Special Needs children for inter-country adoptions – a hugely positive change – and we hope to see more recommendations from the proposal becoming a reality.