Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

Australia Resumes Child Adoption Program With India After Eight Years

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The Australian government has recommenced adoption of children from India, citing an overall improvement in procedures, eight years after it banned the program.

Adoption procedures in India have “improved” in compliance with the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption, Australia’s Assistant Minister for Children and Families David Gillespie said, SBS reported. India will join the 13 other countries, such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines and China, on the country’s approved adoption list, the report said.

The recommencement of the adoption programs will enable a large number of prospective adoptive parents, including those of Indian origin settled in Australia, in fulfilling their desire of adopting a child from the country, the Indian Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) said in a statement on Aug. 14.

The adoption program from India was put on hold by the Australian government following reports of trafficking of children by some recognized adoption agencies. The regulation of inter-country adoptions has been made strict by the Indian government with the enactment of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and notification of Adoption Regulations, 2017, the WCD Ministry said. The ministry, along with Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), were constantly engaging with the Australian government for recommencement of the program, it added.

“Officers from the department have been there and checked what they’ve got in place,” Gillespie told SBS News, saying that orphanages were earlier acting as “marketer of the children” and “playing the leading role in putting them up for adoption.”

With the resumption of the program, the process will be started with small numbers to make sure that “what is in place on paper is what happens in reality,” he added. “We don’t want to see child trafficking, we don’t want to see children that aren’t getting what they deserve. That is a permanent, safe, caring home.”

Cases of adoption of Indian children by foreign nationals and Non-Resident Indians increased by 10 percent in 2017-18, according to data from CARA. A total of 552 children were adopted in 2017-18 by foreign nationals or NRIs, as compared to 500 in 2016-17. Most adoptions came from couples from the United States, followed by Italy, Sweden, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates.

However, some child rights groups continue to express concern over the adoption system in India.

“I’m pretty sure that trafficked children, children who have not been properly [cleared] for adoption will end up with Australian parents,” Pune-based Arun Dohle from Against Child Trafficking told SBS News, adding that the adoption system in India is deeply rooted in corruption and scandals.