PANAJI: The Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has issues a crucial public advisory regarding the alarming rise in unlawful adoption practices within our community.
According to the advisory, the GSCPCR has identified a concerning trend within Goa, especially in South Goa, where childless couples are involved in unauthorized adoption practices, posing significant risks to the wellbeing of vulnerable children.
“Unlawful adoption practices present a substantial challenge, involving the bypassing of established legal procedures. This unethical trend, often driven by childless couples using unauthorized methods, undermines the legal safeguards meant to protect both children and adopting families,” the GSCPCR said
The advisory states that the associated risks go beyond immediate consequences, exposing vulnerable children to potential exploitation through deceptive means.
“This not only endangers their well-being but also poses a threat to community integrity, with profound implications for trust in legal adoption processes,” it said.
Following is teh advisory:
a. Target Selection & Engagement of Intermediaries:
i. Middlemen identify families in vulnerable conditions, particularly those residing on the streets or facing financial hardship, as potential targets.
ii. Assess their susceptibility and willingness to surrender infants for adoption. Employ deceptive means to persuade vulnerable families into willingly relinquishing their infants for adoption.
b. Avoidance of Legal Adoption Procedures:
i. Childless couples, with middlemen to initiate contact with targeted families.
ii. Establish a network with these intermediaries to streamline the adoption process.
iii. Sidestep established legal adoption procedures to escape scrutiny and official documentation.
iv. Opt for unauthorized methods to expedite the adoption process beyond the boundaries of the legal framework.
c. Creation of False Legal Documents:
i. Develop a systematic strategy to produce false legal documents, falsely indicating that the child was born at home.
ii. Present these counterfeit documents to authorities, falsely portraying the child as the biological offspring of the adopting couple.
iii. Exploit the fabricated documents to apply for passports, facilitating the couple’s travel abroad with the adopted child.
iv. Leverage the perceived legitimacy of the false documents to navigate immigration processes.
d. Exploitation of Regulatory Gaps:
i. Exploit weaknesses in the scrutiny process of offices such as the civil registrar of municipalities and other birth registration authorities.
ii. Capitalize on the lack of thorough examination of documents submitted for birth registration.
Legal Framework of Adoption Landscape in India
Adoption procedures in India are guided by specific laws to ensure a regulated and secure process.
The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA), and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 are the primary regulations overseeing adoption.
The system experienced a significant change in 2015 with the introduction of the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS), streamlining the entire adoption process.
According to these laws, not all abandoned or orphaned children automatically qualify for adoption. Initially presented before the district child welfare committee, these children are placed in childcare institutions under the Juvenile Justice Act.
If attempts to reunite them with family fail, the child welfare committee deems them legally available for adoption. The district child protection unit then connects these children with an adoption agency, officially registering their details with CARA. Before matching them with prospective parents, CARA conducts a thorough medical examination and a home study.
The district magistrate reviews the adoption request before making the final decision. 3 Sections 80 and 81 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, play a vital role in enforcing adoption regulations.
Section 80 outlines penalties for those not following the proper adoption procedures, including imprisonment and fines.
Meanwhile, Section 81 addresses the serious issue of child sale and procurement, imposing strict penalties such as rigorous imprisonment and fines.
This illustrates the legal commitment to preventing any actions that compromise adoption integrity or exploit children for unlawful purposes. IV. Community Action
a. Adherence to Legal Adoption Processes: We strongly urge childless couples to strictly follow legal adoption procedures, collaborating with reputable adoption agencies to ensure the safety and well-being of both the children and adoptive parents.
b. Report Suspicious Activities: Report any information or witness accounts of suspicious adoption activities immediately to law enforcement agencies or child protection agencies, such as the Child Welfare Committee and District Child Protection Unit. Vigilance is crucial in protecting vulnerable children.
c. Guidance for Prospective Adoptive Couples: Childless couples considering adoption can seek guidance from Matruchaya in Ponda (South Goa), Caritas Goa in North Goa, and the District Child Protection Unit in both North and South Goa for assistance with the adoption process.
V. Urgent Collective Action:
This urgent matter demands the collective responsibility and swift action of our community. Let us collaborate to ensure every child’s right to a safe and legal adoption, fostering an environment that prioritizes the well-being of all.