Help Abandoned and Orphaned Children at Shelters Reach the Legal Adoption Pool
If you are involved with a child shelter either as a volunteer or donor, there are three valuable things you can help to do:
Ensure that the child shelter is linked to a Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA)
While the Central government has mandated that every child shelter, officially called a Child Care Institution (CCI), must be linked to a SAA, not all are linked and many may be unaware that they need to do so. To link up, the child shelter can contact it’s District Child Protection Officer. The officer will link the shelter to the nearest SAA.
Ask the child shelter to identify children under its care who either do not have a legal guardian, or the legal guardian hasn’t visited the child in the last 6 months.
If a child doesn’t have a legal guardian, the child shelter must present the child’s files to the district’s Child Welfare Committee (CWC), so the CWC can conduct an adoption inquiry for the children and put them in the legal adoption pool.
For children whose legal guardian has not visited them in the last 6 months, the shelter’s social worker must call or visit the legal guardian to evaluate whether that legal guardian wants the child.
If the legal guardian is unfit or uninterested in the child, the child shelter must present the child’s files to the district’s Child Welfare Committee (CWC), and inform them about the child’s situation for the CWC to determine next steps.
Ensure that the child shelter continually does the child identification exercise and brings eligible children in the legal adoption pool.
It is important for the child shelters to do this exercise regularly, to make sure every child is accounted for.