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Historically, adoption was not a popular or traditional concept in India, and the few adoptions that were permitted were limited to a child within the extended family. These adoptions were governed by the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956. The Act prohibited non-Hindus (including foreigners) from adopting Indian children within India. While foreign nationals are not permitted to adopt Indian children in India, in the late 1970's the Government of India introduced a provision for legal guardianship. A foreign national is now permitted to apply for and obtain legal guardianship of a child who is declared by the courts to be destitute and abandoned. The child may then be taken out of India to be adopted, and must be adopted within two years. 1

The official national agency that oversees the intercountry adoptions in India is the Central Adoption Resource Authority. The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is an Autonomous Body under the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India. Its mandate is to find a loving and caring family for every orphan/destitute/surrendered child in the country. CARA was initially set up in 1990 under the aegis of the Ministry of Welfare in pursuance of Cabinet decision dated 5-9-1990. Pursuant to a decision of the Union Cabinet dated 7-2-1998, the then Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment conferred the autonomous status on CARA on 3-18-1999 by registering it as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. It was designated as Central Authority by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment on 7-17-2003 for the implementation of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children & Cooperation in respect of Inter-country Adoption (1993). The Ministry of Women & Child Development has been mandated to look after the subject matters 'Adoption' and 'Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000' pursuant to the 2-16-2006 notification of the Government of India regarding reallocation of the Business. 2

1 U.S. Consulate General, Mumbai, India
2 Central Adoption Resource Agency



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