Change, their own parents. Stable placement through adoption

                               Change, however
trivial, affects children in a big way. And when this change presents itself in
mammoth proportions, often leading to life changing consequences, it has a
profound impact on children, irrespective of their place of residence, economic
status or social conditions. The most adverse change comes in the form of
separation from one or both parents severing the child’s first and primary
source of protection and care. Illness, split-up, death or imprisonment of
parents, parting due to relocation or conflict in the child’s best interests,
removal from the family due to neglect or abuse, detention of the child or the
child’s own initiative to leave home are some of the major reasons that deprive
a child temporarily or permanently from parental care. In fact, there is a
large population of children who grow up without one or both of their parents.
Children without parental care face a very high risk of abuse, exploitation and
neglect. Majority of the children who end up on the streets are those children
who face endearing problems associated with their family and upbringing,
deprived of parental care. Fortunately, things are slowly beginning to change
and the scenario is promising.

Today,
thanks to alternate family-based care  non-institutional care, hapless children – not
only deprived of parental care but also rendered vulnerable due to poverty,
illness, unsafe environment, inadequate schooling facilities, lack of access to
education etc. – are all given a second and a better chance to safe, loving, caring
and affectionate family life. With the breaking up of the traditional family
care system and the gaps in the modern nuclear family based care system, there
has been a dramatic increase in the number of children seeking and entering the
institutional system. Parents, in spite of being the primary care givers often
easily pass on the responsibility to institutions to substitute family care or
to give better facilities. Growing up without the right social stimulation,
interaction and support of a family not only affects children emotionally but
also damages brain development resulting in poor physical development, language
skills and intelligence. It is here that an alternative family-based care like foster
care gains significance. According to David Quinton, Professor of Psychosocial
Development, University of Bristol, “Residential care is now seen as an unsatisfactory
long-term option when children cannot be looked after by their own parents. Stable
placement through adoption or fostering is much preferred in order that a child
may have a chance to form the long term affectionate relationships that are now
generally seen as important for normal social development.” A child’s right to
a family is preserved by giving alternate family care for him/her.

If
the birth family is not able to provide the required care and protection that
the child needs, then adoption is the best option for legal orphans. In
situations where adoption is not possible and when he/she cannot live with
his/her biological parents either temporarily or permanently, a child can get
family-based care in foster care.