The Need for Foster Care
Foster Care is not merely the provision of a family-based alternative care to every child. It is a quality care process that includes family strengthening and, if necessary, a planned intervention where a child may be placed in a family-based setting until they either return to their family, or become independent.
It provides a stable and safe home for children in need of care and protection, thereby offering them the requisite values in order to contribute to society in a variety of ways including becoming strong professionals to raising healthy children. These children also get access to better education and opportunities to become responsible citizens of the world.
Researchers and social theorists alike have postulated that since independence in 1947, India has moved from a joint family model to a nuclear family model due to an increasing trend of people moving to big cities in order to seek work. The emergence of these satellite families has led to lesser opportunities of self-regulation and/or absorption by other members of the family for a child whose parents face peril. A huge number of children in India are orphaned by some of these causes affecting their parents: AIDS, malaria, gender and caste discrimination, unclean water, illiteracy, and malnutrition. This calls for a real need for foster care in the country.
In the Foster Care model, preservation of culture is of paramount importance. Research proves that retaining a child’s culture allows him/her to have a stronger sense of identity which, in turn, diminishes the likelihood of developing mental health issues and/or falling into a transient or criminal lifestyle. Many Indians take pride in their cultural heritage and deep roots and traditions. These are sometimes lost for children who do not have access to a stable, nurturing upbringing. Foster Care fills this void until a permanent family can be identified.
We understand that the promotion and implementation of foster care has to be set within the larger context of quality care for every child. This means that the primary priority is to keep each child in his/her family. We also respect and acknowledge that kinship care and other types of foster care already exist in the Indian culture. We work with partners to formalise these strengths to ensure that every system is holistic and child-centred.