In the backdrop of many children in Delhi losing their parent(s) to Covid-19, the government of the National Capital has laid down guidelines for foster care. This move came after a long wait of six years explaining the guidelines for foster care to the children who lost their parents or have parents but are declared unfit. In that improvement, the Women and Child Development have invited applications from the interested families to provide foster care.

For your information, due to administrative impediments, foster care couldn’t take off in Delhi despite being mandated under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015. However, group foster care was taking place as few NGOs came forward to take such children and provide them institutional care.

As per the new guidelines, individuals and corporates are allowed to sponsor education, health and basic livelihood to the destitute, this will be in addition to the government’s child sponsorship policy.

Until now, 1,436 children lost either one or both parents to Covid-19 in the city, based on the data provided by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Of them, 59 lost both parents, while 467 lost their mother and 910 lost their father. Showing its concern towards the helpless children the govt came up with the new guidelines to ensure their wellbeing.

The government will provide a monthly assistance of Rs. 2,000 per child to the family.

A senior officer of WCD said, as quoted by HT, “This foster care scheme will be linked to the Covid-19 compensation scheme of the Delhi government, which was notified on June 22. We will soon begin an intensive awareness campaign about the scheme so that more people come forward to apply to foster children, and, after scrutinising applications, we will get a clear picture of the number of children who lost their parents or have been abandoned during this pandemic or otherwise. Such children, upon thorough social investigation, will either be placed for adoption, if the child is below six years of age or for foster care, if (s)he is more than six years old.”

As per the new guidelines, it is up to the opinion of the members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) to announce an orphan, abandoned or surrendered child as legally free for adoption or foster care.

“The number of children placed with a foster family shall not exceed eight in one unit, including biological children of the foster parents… Children who are not being adopted after being declared legally free for adoption may be eligible for foster care… Short term foster care shall be for a period of one year. Long term foster care shall be for a period exceeding one year, which can be periodically extended by the CWC till the child attains 18 years of age…,” read the copy of foster care guidelines.

Before applying for foster care the applicant should keep in mind that he/she and their spouse are of at least 35 years old and they own a house in the city. They both are willing to provide foster care to the child or children and have enough income to support their basic sustenance. “A final call on putting a child with a particular set of foster parents will be taken either by the CWC concerned or the Juvenile Justice Board,” said the official as quoted by the HT.