State, Centre mulling foster care for orphans

By: Swathi V

If motherhood came out of domesticity and became a professional choice, it would adopt the model given by the SOS Children’s Villages without changing a bit. Empowering women and making them head of the household is something that the society at large has failed to achieve, but it is the mainstay of this worldwide voluntary initiative begun by Austrian Philanthropist Hermann Gmeiner way back in 1949.

This model could well become the beacon for the Central and the State governments, keenly considering foster care as an option for responsible upbringing of orphaned and destitute children.

The Central government is mulling various options of foster care through its Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill soon to be presented in Rajya Sabha, while the Telangana State government will announce a policy for care of orphans once the expert committee constituted for this purpose submits its recommendations. Home Minister Nayani Narsimha Reddy announced on Thursday that he would personally visit the children’s village in Vottinagulapally, besides promising to bring the Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao too, to consider the model for the foster care.

Both the governments are in consultations with the SOS Children’s Village with regards to the foster care model to be adopted, the Secretary-General of SOS Children Villages India (SOS CVI) Anuja Bansal revealed.

In the city for a seminar on ‘Quality Care for Every Child’, she informed that foster care and kinship model are two options under consideration at the central level, as the law would focus on de-institutionalising destitute children’s care. Group foster care which is under consideration could emulate the concept of children’s villages.

Mothers are the bulwark for the model adopted by the children’s villages, which thrive on the concept of bringing a group of destitute children together as a family and designating a mother to look after them just a real-time mother would look after her own kids.

Each such family would be assigned a house in the village managed by the SOS CVI’s local functionaries.

Once assigned a group of children, the mother will care for them till they attain certain age, after which they will be moved to hostel. Even after the children become adults and are settled in their respective careers and lives, the mother-child bond continues. “There have been instances where the mothers, after retirement, have gone to live with their foster children,” says Ms.Bansal.

Finding committed mothers for the children’s homes is a difficult job though. Single, separated and widowed women are chosen and put under training at SOS CVI’s National Training Centre for three months. Following this, there will be on-the-job training for two years at any of the children’s villages, before they become full time mothers.

Source: The Hindu

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