The Union Territory Child Protection Society plans to establish more cradle facilities in Chandigarh for parents to surrender their children anonymously.
“These cradle points are places where parents can drop their children without revealing their identity. But the children should be of less than two years old, so that they fit in a cradle,” said Bisman Ahuja, the Programs Officer for the Union Territory Child Protection Services.
Ahuja, who also heads the State Adoption Resource Authority (SARA) in Chandigarh, claimed that establishing more cradle points will curb cases of illegal adoption.
“A lot of parents who wish to abandon their child due to various reasons cannot do so openly because it is illegal under the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015. They turn to illicit methods or just leave their children on the street which poses a threat to the child’s life. By establishing a cradle point, these parents can make the decision to leave their children to the right authorities without fearing punishment,” Ahuja added.
The city has three such cradle points: one outside Nari Niketan, another one outside ‘Ashiana’ the Child Care Centre in Sector 15, and the third outside the Children Home for boys in Maloya.
PGIMER, in association with SARA Chandigarh and the Central Adoption Resource Agency held an awareness event on child adoption at PGI Thursday. During the event, it was announced that SARA Chandigarh facilitated the adoption of 52 children in the last five years. Parents attended the event with their adopted children to share their experiences of the adoption process.
“A lot of the people who surrender their children for adoption are destitute, or have had a child out of wedlock and fear facing stigma. They feel that they have no option but to surrender their children. Some hesitate in approaching the right authorities,” says Anjali Sharma from SARA Panchkula.
Anjali said that a lot of illicit adoptions occur between those who do abandon their children and fear being criminalised and those who do not meet all the criteria to potentially adopt children. A total of 344 adoptions were facilitated by SARA Panchkula between 2013 and 2019, out of which 75 are international adoptions.
“When done illegally, these children have no rights, but through the proper procedures, we ensure that the child’s welfare is kept at the forefront,” said Sharma.