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Adoption has always been considered a wonderful opportunity to provide the child with home and the parents a child.  It offers an excellent alternative to institutional care for an abandoned, destitute or neglected child in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding which only a family can provide.  In the early days, the practice of adoption was shrouded in secrecy, which was restricted in the traditional family. The tradition at that time was that, childless couples adopt a child with a view to ensure the continuity of tradition and to avoid alienation of property.  The cases of adopted child being changed as a biological child by means of various subterfuge was also significant in those days.

Professional intervention of child welfare agencies in the process of adoption that began in the early seventies had changed the societal attitude and concept of adoption. Thereby significant changes in the legal, social and practice levels of adoption programme with systematization of the procedures to the best interest of the child, adoptive parents and the birth parents had taken place. This has enhanced the rate of adoption and today, child emerged as the fulcrum of the family and more and more couples are coming forward to adopt a child as soon as it is known that it is not possible for them to have a biological child.   More...

The Child has the Right to Know about Adoption

Right to know about self is just and right.  The adopted child has the right to know about the adoptive status in the family as he/she grows up.  In fact, the ‘telling’ is the most important phase in adoption and it should invariably be done by the parents themselves.  It is easier for the child to accept and adjust to the reality when learned from them.  Experts are of the opinion that it is better to start it as early as three years of age through: 
  • Storied related to adoption
  • Photo albums
  • Diary or life books
  • Adoptive family get-togethers
Expenses Incurred in Adoption
The placement agencies working in the field of adoption are rendering their professional services while processing every adoption placement, which involves certain expenses on Child Care, Legal procedures and preparation of Home study Report.  The placement agencies can recover the actual expenses on these from the adoptive parents as per the orders of the Supreme Court and the guidelines issued by Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), Government of India.
The adoption centre can charge an amount of Rs.50 per day for the period the child is with the institution, subject to a maximum of Rs.15,000. If the organization had spent any amount for the medical treatment of the child, that amount can also be charged, again subject to a maximum of Rs.9000. Further, Rs.1000 plus the actual traveling expenses can be charged for the family report. Government institutions and other institutions accepting grants from Government can waive the above charges.
Special features of Adoption in Kerala
  • Prospective adoptive parents prefer to adopt female children in Kerala.
  • Prospective parents from neighboring states (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh) are coming to Kerala for adopting male children.
  • Efforts are made to place clearance requested children through inter-ACA contacts.
  • Families with adopted children/biological children are coming forward for second adoption.
  • More single parents are coming for adoption.
  • Efforts are taking to curb illegal adoption.
  • Measures are taken to identify unrecognized agencies through agency visits and give awareness to them and are taking effort to transfer the children to licensed agencies.
  • More child welfare agencies are coming forward for adoption though Reach-out visits.
  • Greater awareness on Legal Adoption among public through Mass media coverage
   Guidelines for Adoption
   Procedure for In-Country Adoption
   Procedure for Inter-Country Adoption

Legal Situation

There is no uniform Law in India that provides for the adoption by people belonging to all religions. The only existing law on Adoption are – The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (HAMA) 1956, that provides for adoption by Hindus only. In the case of non- Hindus, the Guardians and Wards Act (GWA) 1890 is invoked to confer guardianship of children. Under this legislation, there is no safeguard to the child's legal rights. And it does not provide the child the same status as that of the child born to the family. This act confers only a guardian-ward relationship. The reality is such that once the child is 18, he/she can either walk out on the parents or vice versa. Such a situation can have serious repercussions.

Adoption in Kerala is governed by The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA), 1956, Guardians and Wards Act (GWA) 1890 and Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act (2000). Majority of the Adoption in Kerala is done through the HAMA and only very few cases registered under (GWA).

The State Government is virtually somnambulant in constituting Child Welfare Committees for the protection and rehabilitation of children as prescribed by the Juvenile Justice Act 2000. According to the Juvenile Justice Act, all States should formulate rules for adoption and set up Child Welfare Committees to examine cases and give "Legally clear" clearance certificates, which alone can authorize agencies currently nurturing children to endorse adoption requests.

The Hindu Adoption & Maintenance Act 1956 (HAMA)

  • Applicable to Hindus, Jain, Buddhists and Sikhs.
  • Under Hindu Adoption & Maintenance Act, the adoption is irrevocable and confers the full status of a biological child, including the right to inherit on the adopted child.
  • Under HAMA, only one child of each sex can be adopted.  Parents cannot adopt child of a particular sex, it they already have a biological or adopted child of the same sex. 

The Guardian & Wards Act 1890 (GWA)

  • Applicable to Christians, Muslims, Parsis, Jews    
  • Under GWA, the relationship between the adoptive parents and the adopted child is that of guardian and ward respectively.
  • Unlike HAMA, adoption under GWA is not irrevocable and does not confer status of the biological child on the adopted child.
  • All the inter-country adoptions are processed in India under the GWA

The Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act 2000

  • Applicable to all Indian Citizen
  • Allow adoption of two children of the same sex
  • Confers status of parents & child and not guardian and ward
  • Confers rights available to biological child on the adopted child.

The Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Amendment Act 2006

Agencies Providing Child Adoption Services

For safe guarding interest and welfare of child, Government of India has recognized the following agencies for Adoption 

  • Indian Placement Agencies                           - 73   (in various states)
  • Foreign Placement Agencies Enlisted            - 254 (in foreign countries) 
  • Adoption Coordinating Agency in India         - 13   (in various states)
  • Scrutiny Agencies                                          - 13   (in various states)

Authorities & Agencies involved in Adoption, Govt. of India

  • Ministry of women & Child Department, New Delhi:  All policy matters relating to Adoption are dealt with by the Ministry  
  • Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), New Delhi:  An autonomous body under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.  It functions as a nodal body and also the central authority for adoption matters.

Government of Kerala

  • Department of Social Justice deals with State level policy matters relating to Adoption.
  • State Adoption Advisory Committee: The Committee will meet periodically to evaluate, monitor and discuss Child Welfare measures, policy matters, and way and means to promote in – country adoption.

Adoption Cell

It functions in the Directorate of Social Justice to co-ordinate the activities of placement agencies, ACA and Scrutiny body.  It also monitors the adoption programmes and develop the work of adoption.
The following officers are also involved in the matters pertaining to adoption in the concerned area/districts

  • Regional Assistant Director
  • District Probation Officer
  • District Social Justice Officer

State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA)

  • SARA is an Agency in a State/Region constituted for the promotion of In-country Adoption as per the Honourable Supreme Court Judgment and Government of India Guidelines on adoption.
  • SARA-Kerala came into being in 2013 with the purpose to coordinate and support the adoption activities of all the recognized and licensed adoption placement agencies in Kerala.
  • SARA is recognized by CARA, Govt. of India and sponsored by Ministry of Women and Child Development.

State Adoption Resource Agency in Kerala

Office Address       

SARA for Adoption

Rajagiri College of Social Sciences

Kalamassery,Kochi – 683 104.

Phone : 0484- 2540727

Fax : 0484 532862


Scrutinizing Agency

An independent Social Welfare Agency appointed by the Honourable High Court of Kerala for scrutinizing adoption applications for In-Country and Inter-Country adoptions.  In Kerala Indian Council for Social Welfare (ICSW) is the authorized body to scrutinize the adoptions.

Indian Council of Social Welfare

Administrative Office:
Rajagiri College of Social Sciences
Rajagiri P.O
Kochi – 683 104

Ph:0484-2532654, 2555564
Website: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 List of Placement Agencies in Kerala