Offer Health Insurance for Children in Adoption
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Children legally available for adoption invariably come from orphanages, child care institutions and adoption agencies where their care, especially in prenatal and post natal stage is far below from what each child deserves. Some children spend several years in an institution before finding a family.
Medical and social research has confirmed the ill effects on the health, developmental milestones and psychological well being of children under long term institutional care. Through this petition we wish to draw attention and seek remedy for the plight of thousands of children languishing in institutions for want of timely and suitable health care. Even those who get placed into adoption, suffer from lack of support that is required to mitigate the long terms effects of institutional care, especially if it goes beyond the capacity of the adoptive family.
Take the case of Maya*. She required a cochlear implant which got delayed because of lack of resources. The funds raised by the social workers were not sufficient to provide the required remedy. She now wears a substandard equipment - which often runs out of battery. Her implant keeps hanging from her ear like an appendage - allowing her to hear for a week, and off hearing for following weeks. Inability to hear has affected her speech. A cute bubbly girl, Maya finds herself listed in the Special Needs category shutting off virtually all options of finding a home in India. A simple timely medical intervention could have offered her abilities to hear and speak - not to mention a home. She now languishes in an institution.
Amar* was found on railway tracks without a history of past medical care. He was placed in adoption after a few months. His medical examination reported a healthy normal child at the time of placement. But an year into adoption, his development milestones were delayed, his speech impaired and cognitive ability challenged. His parents put him on basic therapy that they could afford. His situation improved but he still requires support at school and gets discriminated as a "special child" ! An insurance cover could have helped Amar far earlier and better - had it been available.
Many side effects of institutional care get manifested over a long period of time, often after several years. Children from homes have been diagnosed with learning challenges, delayed developmental milestones, ADHD and mood swings as they grow into teenagers and even adults. Physiological and Psychological intervention of many of these children starts as early as one year - for which there is no institutional help or support. Even if adoptive parents were to take health insurance, many of these conditions would be excluded from common health insurance products. Parents have to resort to expensive counselling, therapies, assessments and medical intervention specific to adoption. Counter effects of long term institutional care is a systemic challenge and requires an institutionalized mechanism to address the same.
Currently, all children other than those in perfect health are categorized as "children with special needs" severely limiting their opportunities for adoption. Many of these only require a specific medical intervention. Offering medical cover to such children will help us discover parents who can adopt these children with institutional support to take care of the medical needs of the child, like a surgical procedure or a therapy.
Through this petition, we request Smt Maneka Gandhi, Hon'ble Minister of Women and Child Development, Government of India and Shri JP Nadda, Hon'ble Minister of Health, Government of India to offer "Adoption Health Insurance" for each child awaiting or completed adoption, till the age of 18 years. Such an insurance will offer seamless protection to children against child abuse, malnutrition or contagious diseases during their stay at the institution and into the families. It will also assure the adopting families that any surprises arising out of adoption or missing genetic record is also taken care of.
Not to mention, it will lend a huge boost to legal adoptions, urgently required in our country, especially for children with remediable medical condition.
* Note: Some names have been changed to lend privacy to individuals concerned.
- Hon'ble Minister of Women and Child Development, Govt of India
- Hon'ble Union Minister of Health, Govt of India
Jagat Prakash Nadda
Offer Health Insurance for Children-in-Adoption
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