RECOGNISED INDIAN PLACEMENT AGENCIES (RIPA)
5.1 Only such voluntary agencies/institutions as are primarily engaged in child welfare programmes for the growth and development of children can undertake processing of adoption cases as a part of their total activities and may apply for recognition for inter-country adoption to CARA through the State Government. Only Recognised Agencies can undertake Inter-country Adoption. RIPAs will be known as accredited bodies for the purpose of processing inter-country adoption applications
5.2 Listing with Authorities
Every institution and child welfare agency engaged in care and custody of children or in adoption work or any other activity related to orphaned, abandoned, destitute, neglected or relinquished children shall immediately be listed by the concerned State Government and such list shall be forwarded to CARA.
5.3 Criteria for Recognition of Indian Placement Agency (RIPA)
No agency will engage in placement of inter-country adoption unless it is licensed by the State Government and recognised by CARA. Any Indian agency desirous of undertaking inter-country adoption work shall apply for recognition to the Central Adoption Resource Authority, through the State Government concerned and only such agencies are recognised by the Central Adoption Resource Authority, shall be entitled to undertake processing of inter-country adoption work. Such agencies shall be termed "Recognized Indian Placement Agencies". The General criteria for granting recognition should be as follows:
- It is a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or a Trust created under the Charitable Trusts Act, or an organisation registered under an appropriate law which has worked for the welfare of Women and Children during the preceding five years;
- Only such voluntary agencies primarily engaged in child welfare programmes which undertake adoption as a part of their total activities may apply for recognition for inter-country adoption to the Central Adoption Resource Authority.
- The organisation should be duly licensed/recognised by the State Government under the Orphanages and Other Charitable Homes (Supervision and Control) Act, 1960 and/or Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and/or any alternate rules or order to maintain certain minimum standards for child care in child welfare institutions. The organisation should have been functioning for a period of three years in the field of in-country adoption at the time of applying for Inter-country recognition. This will be relaxable, for organisations working in the North East region and J & K, in meritorious cases.
- The organization should also have a certificate of recognition from concerned State Govt. for doing in country adoption in accordance with section 41(4) of the JJ Act 2000 and corresponding states JJ Rules.
- Where the adoption programme is part of a larger organisation there should be a sub-committee to run the adoption programme and closely monitor the same. This Committee shall have at least some professional members with experience in the field of Child Development/Social Welfare/Law.
- It should have appropriate residential institution/Home for the protection and care of children including infants.
- It should run on a non-commercial and non-profit basis.
- The Chief Executive of the organisation should be willing to sign a written undertaking to follow the Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court of India, those prescribed by the Government of India and the conditions imposed, if any, by CARA at the time of Recognition and Renewal.
- Recognition of the agency should be recommended by the State Government concerned.
- It should have required professional staff to run the adoption agency.
Recognition to an Indian agency shall be granted normally for a period of 3 years, subject to the conditions laid down in these Guidelines. The decision of CARA shall be final in this regard.
5.4 List of Prospective Adoptive Parents
Every Recognized/Licensed Indian Placement Agency shall regularly maintain a list of all registered prospective Indian adoptive parents containing their names, addresses and other relevant data. NRIs holding Indian passports can be registered with the Agencies.
5.5 Steps to be followed by RIPA
Step 1) Intake of Children
- All names of children admitted, including surrendered children, to a Recognised Indian Placement Agency should be entered in the admission register with all the available information in the format prescribed by the CARA. A list of all children and newly arrived children should be sent to the ACA/Adoption Cell of the State Govt. or other Competent Authority on monthly basis. In case of the death of any child in the Agency, the same has to be immediately intimated to the State Govt./Concerned Authority.
- Every recognized/licensed Indian Placement Agency will maintain a separate file for each child with the child's complete case history. Further, the specific details of surrender, the belongings of the child left by the biological mother and other required information related to the child should be maintained/prescribed/documented. No Agency will be allowed to process cases of children belonging to other agencies including non-recognised agencies unless the concerned child has been transferred legally and physically to its custody for a minimum period of one month.
- On admission of a child in the agency, the latter has to inform the CWC/local authority within 24 hours.
Step 2) Child becoming legally free for adoption
- When RIPA receives a child, its first responsibility is to trace the biological parents and restore the child. The biological parent/parents should be counselled and duly informed by the agency concerned of the effect of their consent for adoption and the alternatives available for the care and maintenance of the child. No Agency will directly or through agents, attempt to induce biological parents with monetary and other incentives to surrender their children.
Step 3) Priority to In-country Adoption
- All the adoption agencies will give priority to In-country adoptions so that every child gets an opportunity to find a family within its own cultural milieu. RIPA should exhaust all possibilities to place a child within the country within a period of 30 days.
- Each Recognized Indian Placement Agency is required to adhere to the following order of priority while considering the adoption of Indian children:
1. Indian citizens living in India.
2. Indian citizens living abroad.
3. Both Parents of Indian origin abroad.* (PIO)
4. One parent of Indian origin abroad.* (PIO)
5. Foreign families.
(Definition of NRI and PIO for the purpose is given at **)
Step 4) Documentation of efforts
- Every Recognized Indian Placement Agency shall give full details of the child to the prospective adoptive parents (except the names and addresses of the biological parents), where known to the agency. Every Recognised Indian Placement Agency will keep a complete record in chronological order of the efforts made for locating Indian parents. The reasons for non-placement of a child in in-country adoption should be recorded. The names, address & contact numbers of Indian families who have not accepted the child should be made available to CARA, ACA and the State Government whenever required.
- When all efforts to place the child with Indian parents fail as per priority one, then the procedure as laid down in Chapter IV will be followed.
5.6 Quarterly Data to be furnished to Authorities
Every Recognised Indian Adoption Placement Agency will furnish quarterly data to the State Government in which the agency is operating and a quarterly statement to the Central Adoption Resource Authority, in such Proforma as may be prescribed by Central Adoption Resource Authority in respect of children given to Indians and others for adoption from time to time.
5.7 Surrender of a Child
The surrender document should be executed at the free will of the biological parents/parent with no compulsion, payment or compensation of any kind by the adoption agency. If the biological parent/s state a preference for the religious up- bringing of the child, their wishes should be respected as far as possible. But ultimately the interest of the child should be the sole guiding factor before the child is placed in adoption.
Note :: **NRI means Indian citizens who hold Indian passports and are presently residing abroad.
Persons of Indian origin (PIO) means a foreign citizen (not being a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries as may be specified by the Central Govt. from time to time) if:
(a) he/she at any time held an Indian Passport; or
(b) he/she or either of his parents or grand parents or great grand parents was born in and permanently resident in India as defined in the govt. of India Act 1935 and other territories that became part of India thereafter provided neither was at any time a citizen of any of the aforesaid countries (as referred to) above;
(c) he or she is a spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin covered under (a) or (b) above.
5.8 The parent/s should be informed by the agency of his/her/their right to reclaim the child within 60 days from the date of surrender. He/She/They should be made aware that after the period of 60 days the surrender documents will become irrevocable and the child will be considered free for adoption and the RIPA will be free to place the child in adoption or guardianship within or outside India.
5.9 The surrender document should be executed on prescribed stamped paper in the presence of two responsible witnesses of whom one should be responsible person who is not an employee of the organisation. The documents shall also be signed by a Notary/Oath Commissioner. The recognized/licensed Indian placement agency should be able to produce these witnesses if necessity arises. The responsibility for ensuring the authenticity of the surrender document would rest on the agency. In case of a minor surrendering a child, the signature of parents/relatives of the minor should be obtained, one of whom should be the person accompanying the minor. The State Govt. may cross check all surrender documents. During the surrender process, the RIPA should ensure that:
- If a child is surrendered, both parents sign the relinquishment document and in case a parent/s is dead, proof of death is furnished. Where a death certificate is not available, a certificate from the Sarpanch/Panchayat/Govt. Authority should be made available.
- In case of a single mother, only she herself and none else, surrenders the child.
- Where both biological parents of the child are dead, he or she cannot be surrendered by relatives and will be treated as an abandoned child and the requisite procedure will follow.
- When a child is born to a married couple but is surrendered by one biological parent and the whereabouts of the other are not known, it will be treated as an abandoned child and the requisite procedures will be followed.
- If the document of surrender is considered invalid/incomplete, the same procedure is followed as for an abandoned child.
- CARA will reserve the right to refer any Surrender Deed for the State Government’s verification.
5.10 Abandoned Child
The procedures for declaring an abandoned child free of adoption will be as per the relevant provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act-2000 and concerned State Rules in this regard.
A monthly statement on status of children, number of Indian adoptions and lists of all registered prospective adoptive parents will be sent to ACA and the concerned department of the State Government. All RIPAs shall send their Annual Reports, audited statement of accounts and a copy of FCRA to CARA which should include statement on adoption fees, donations and data on children adopted during the period.
5.12 Transfer of Children
The procedure of transfer of child will be followed as applicable in JJ Act, 2000 or concerned State JJ Rules in this regard. All transfer cases should be informed to the concerned ACA. All such children transferred to the Recognised Indian Placement Agency (recognised by CARA, GOI) from an unrecognized agency, whether within the State or from outside, should be in the physical custody of the Recognised Indian Placement Agency for a period of not less than one month before any action for the adoption of the child abroad is initiated. This is applicable in case of transfer of children from branches of the same organisation also.
5.13 Transfer of the child should be accompanied by available documents pertaining to its admission, preliminary case history, documentary evidence to prove that the child is legally free for adoption, and a letter of transfer. In addition, the photograph of the child, CSR, PER and other relevant documents should be sent. The Recognised Indian Placement Agency should verify all the facts before accepting the child, as it is legally responsible for its placement.
5.14 In the case of inter-state transfer of children, the following procedures should be followed:
- Children from any orphanage/agency can be transferred to another State with the permission of the State Government.
- The child should be registered with the nearest ACA and ACA will make all possible efforts to find suitable Indian parents within the stipulated period.
- If there is no ACA in the State of origin then ACA registration has to be done in the State to which the child has been transferred.
RIPA will regularly receive follow up reports from EFAA and inform about any disruption or negative report about any child to CARA. It shall also monitor progress reports of children placed in in-country adoption as per In-country Guidelines.
The following records and registers should be maintained by every RIPA/ Licensed Indian Placement Agency.
- Master Admission Register as prescribed.
- A separate file on each child in the prescribed format, giving the full details/history. Relevant legal documents of every adoption and child's background/history should be maintained at least for a period of 18 years, for future reference. The file should have other relevant information i.e. immunization chart, medical history etc.
- Separate register of prospective Indian, NRI and Foreign adoptive parents with details.
- Separate follow-up register for children placed both in Domestic and Inter Country adoption.
- Quarterly reports in the prescribed format as forwarded to the State Government, Central Adoption Resource Authority and ACA.
- The annual report of the organisation clearly reflecting its adoption and other social and child welfare activities.
- An audited statement of accounts, together with a copy of FCRA account submitted to the Home Ministry.
- Other records stipulated under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or the relevant State Law relating to public trusts
5.17 Recovery of Costs in case of Inter-country Adoption
- The organisation will pursue only non-profit objectives. Under no circumstances should it derive improper financial gain from any activity related to inter-country or in-country adoption. In inter-country adoption, an adoption fee of a fixed amount of US$3500 or its equivalent in Indian rupees will be payable by the adoptive parents to the Recognised Indian Placement Agencies through EFAA or a central authority. This fee will include the cost involved in providing quality child care, medical and legal services, passport, visa, payment towards professional staff, monitoring, correspondence, preparation of child study reports, medical reports, etc. This outer limit of recoverable expenses may be reviewed by CARA/Govt. of India once in a period of five years depending upon escalation of the expenses including cost of living. In case of disruption or failure of adoption, the cost of repatriating the child to India, will be borne by the Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agency, if no alternative placement for the child is effected in the foreigner's country with the concurrence of the Recognised Indian Placement Agency.
- No donation shall be received by a Recognised Indian Placement Agency from a Foreign Prospective Adoptive Parent/Parents or Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agency.
- If it comes to CARA's notice that any RIPA charges more than the prescribed fees or tries to financially exploit the sponsoring agency/adoptive parents, CARA may after giving an opportunity to such agency to explain its position, suspend or withdraw its recognition as well as recommend criminal prosecution to the State Govt. as per law i.e. in terms of the principles of accountability of the person found defaulter. Similarly, if any Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agency induces a Recognized Adoption Placement Agency by giving offers of more money than the prescribed fees for processing a case of inter-country adoption of an Indian child, CARA may after giving an opportunity to such agency to explain its point of view, de-enlist the foreign agency along with recommendation to prosecute the defaulters as per law of that country.
- There should not be any agreement between Indian and Foreign Agencies on number of children to be offered for adoption to foreign families. Similarly, no such agreement on donations and fees will be entered between such Agencies.
5.18 Renewal of Recognition of RIPA
RIPA should apply for renewal of recognition, 6 months prior to the date of expiry of the previous recognition. The original application should be sent by the agency to the appropriate authority of the State Government and a copy of it should simultaneously be forwarded directly to CARA. The State Government will forward the original application to CARA along with its comments within a period of two months from the date of receipt of the complete application. If the State Government does not respond within three months from the date of receipt of application, CARA may conduct a joint inspection and consider the renewal of recognition. Recognition would normally be renewable for a period of three years subject to the following conditions:
- Recommendation/views of the concerned State Government accompanied by the inspection report of the Agency.
- Satisfactory performance in relation to in-country adoption will be an important factor to assess and consider further renewal of recognition of any RIPA. The agencies shall sufficiently exhibit their involvement in the area of In-country adoption. The Agencies will place 50% or more children in adoption to Indians in India.
- Regular submission of Annual report, quarterly reports of the Agencies and audited statement of accounts as prescribed, adoption charges per child, donations received, if any.
- No instance of proved malpractice against the RIPA.
- Whether the agency is still recognized by the appropriate authority of concerned State govt. for running the children Home and doing in country adoption under relevant rules.
- List of children placed in in-country and inter-country adoption, year-wise for the period of three years to support the data submitted.
5.19 Agencies to maintain Accounts
- Every agency shall maintain proper accounts to be audited by a Chartered Accountant every year.
- An attested copy of audited accounts together with audit report shall be furnished by every agency within one month from the date accounts have been audited by the Chartered Accountant, to the relevant Department of the State Government concerned and to the CARA.
- An attested copy of the FCRA accounts submitted to the Home Ministry should be furnished to CARA together with the audited accounts, by the agency. The adoption charges and donations received from different sources will be submitted to CARA at the end of every financial year.
5.20 Recognised Indian Placement Agencies to deal with Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agencies only
No Recognised Indian Placement Agency shall entertain any application for adoption of an Indian child from foreigners [including NRIs/PIOs (as applicable)] unless it is forwarded through Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agency/central authority or from the appropriate Government authority/duly authorized body in countries where there is no enlisted agency. The Recognised Indian Placement Agency should not entertain an application direct from any foreign individual or Foreign Agency that is not enlisted by CARA.
5.21 Inspection of Agencies
The premises of the Recognised Indian Placement Agencies including their children Homes, and their records shall be open to inspection by CARA, State Government or any other agency authorized by CARA.
Recognition can be withdrawn or suspended by CARA wherever the need arises after giving due opportunity to the agency by way of show cause notice. No recognition is granted on a permanent basis and the same shall be subject to review from time to time.
- No contact between the FPAPs and the biological parents will be allowed. Counseling facilities should be made available to biological mother/parents by the adoption agency. Consent of the biological mother cannot be obtained before the birth of the child.
- No child should be proposed for intercountry adoption before ACA Clearance except in the case of NRIs
- RIPA will maintain the confidentiality of the child’s origin, his or her parents
- No one shall derive improper financial gain or other gain from an activity related to adoption. A receipt shall be issued in case of receipt of any payment for any service rendered.
- There can’t be any direct adoption by any FPAPs and all such adoptions shall be through recognized/enlisted agencies as defined under the Guidelines
- All RIPAs shall adhere to strict ethical practices and work in the best interest of children as defined in the Guidelines and described in Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption–1993 failing which action as deems fit will be taken against any defaulting agency/ies. The office bearers of the agency/ies will be held responsible for any breach of procedural safeguards or non-compliance of ethical practices.