New Delhi: Initiating the concept of foster care in the country, the government today finalised the guidelines for a scheme which will allow children without parental care to be placed with unrelated family members on a temporary basis to provide them a conducive environment.
Under the guidelines brought by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, children in the age group of 6-18 years, whose parents are unable to take care of them due to reasons such as mental illness, poverty or imprisonment and those staying in child care institutions will be placed in foster care.
The model guidelines on foster care detail the procedures, roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, along with various aspects related to its implementation in the districts.
Children in the age group 0-6 years will not preferred to be considered for placement in foster care as such small children will be encouraged for adoption.
"The guidelines have been developed through a consultative process involving representatives from states and Union Territories, non-governmental organisations, civil society, academicians, experts and organisations working on alternative care," a senior ministry official said.
The guidelines provides access to child on the information of his biological family. They also hold it as responsibility of the foster parents to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, care and support to the child and also treatment for his overall physical, emotional and mental health.
Foster parents will also ensure education and vocational training of the child according to his age, developmental needs and interests.
"These guidelines have been strengthened by providing additional formats for preparing case study of the child, application form for the foster parents to apply, tools for counselling before and during the process to the child, the foster parents and the biological parents of that child, if available," the official said
These guidelines, however, do not cover pre-adoption foster care, as in such cases, latest guidelines governing adoption of children will apply.