Alternative Care in India: Issues and Prospects

Seema Naaz and Zubair Meenai - Rajagiri Journal of Social Development


The international human rights law and policy makers establish the primacy of family for a child and accord a high priority to the continuum of care. India has recently been advocating for a transition from institutionalisation to the deinstitutionalisation of children in need of care and protection. Prevailing legislation and guidelines in India including the Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act) 2015, the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), the New Adoption Guidelines 2016 and Regulations 2017, the Model Guidelines for Foster Care 2016, and Supreme Court rulings advocate for the same. Although non-institutional alternative care is considered to be in the best interests of the child, its acceptance is limited. This paper presents the current vulnerabilities faced by children and the scenario of child protection in India. While discussing the legal provisions prevailing in the country, it sheds light on the socio-cultural barriers that are creating resistance within the society in making the Alternative Care model a success. Lastly it suggests viable options that may be helpful for the same.