The purpose of CARA is to ensure that every orphan, destitute and surrendered child has a loving and caring family. It currently comes under the purview of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. CARA was established in 1990 under the Ministry of Welfare. Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment conferred onto CARA the responsibility of upholding the Hague Convention on Protection of Children & Cooperation in respect of Inter-country Adoption of 1993. It became an autonomous body in 1999 by registering it under the Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. After the passing of the Juvenile Justice Act 2000 and its amendment in 2006, CARA was transferred to the MWCD. In India a child can be placed with a family under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956, Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 and Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.
Other agencies concerned with the process of adoption both in India and internationally are as follows:
- Recognised Indian Placement Agencies (RIPAs)
- Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agencies
- Adoption Coordinating Agencies (ACAs)
- Shishu Grehs
- Licensed Adoption Placement Agencies (LAPAs)
- Indian Federation of Adoptive Families Associations (IFAFA)
CARA has set out both the In-country and Inter-country guidelines and procedures for adoption. Procedures for in-country adoption are as follows:
- Prospective adoptive parent(s) should register themselves with the local RIPA / LAPA or Adoption Coordinating Agency or with the State Adoption Cell.
- A home study report of the prospective adoptive parents will be prepared by the social worker of the Agency. To allay the fears and apprehensions of the prospective adoptive parent(s), pre-adoptive counselling sessions will be undertaken by the social worker during the preparation of the home study report. Assessing the ability of a couple to parent a child not born to them is of crucial importance in a successful adoption. Therefore, their suitability to care for an unrelated child is assessed through this home study and counselling. Documents relating to the financial and health status of the prospective parent(s) will be part of the Home Study Report.
- In case of Inter-State adoption applications by parent(s), they will be accompanied by Home Study prepared by a qualified social worker working in a RIPA/LAPA. Where State Govt.'s have officially delegated such work for its Officials, the Home Study Report could be prepared by the concerned Official.
- Criteria for eligibility of parent(s) will be adhered to, as stated in Para 1.1.7.
- The Agency will make a suitable reference from amongst the admitted children legally free for adoption. If no suitable child is available, the family will be referred to the ACA.
- After a Home Study has been accepted and approved, a child will be shown to the parent(s). The agency will take care to match a child meeting the description, if any, desired by the parent(s).
- In case of placement of older children (above the age of 6), both written and verbal consent of the child will be obtained.
- Once a successful matching has been done, the agency will file a petition in the Court/JJB for obtaining the necessary orders under the relevant Act. The above process will normally be completed in 6-8 weeks.
Central Adoption Resource Authority(CARA)