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West Bengal State Child Protection Society

Department of Women & Child Development and Social Welfare

Govt. of West Bengal

Foster Care

Foster care is an arrangement whereby a child lives, usually on a temporary basis, with unrelated family members. A child shall be preferably placed with child’s extended family or with close friends of the family who are known to child and when such options are either not available or not willing to take care of the child, the child may be placed in foster care. While placing a child in foster care, preference shall be given to those families that share similar cultural, tribal and /or community connection.

Foster care is an arrangement whereby a child lives, usually on a temporary basis, with unrelated family members. A child shall be preferably placed with child’s extended family or with close friends of the family who are known to child and when such options are either not available or not willing to take care of the child, the child may be placed in foster care. While placing a child in foster care, preference shall be given to those families that share similar cultural, tribal and /or community connection.

  1. Foster care can be short term or long term depending upon the needs of the child. The situations under which short term Fostercare will be given and the duration will rest on the CWCs based on their assessment of the individual case presented before them. Long term foster care, on the other hand, is placement of a child by the Committee for a period exceeding one year.
  2. Group foster care is a family like care facility for children in need of care and protection who are without parental care. The aim is to provide personalised care and fostering a sense of belonging and identity, through family like and community based solutions.
  3. Group Foster is defined as a family setting where a group of unrelated children are placed with a set of parents may/may not be having their own biological children.
  4. Group foster care as an intermittent arrangement is suitable for children picked up from streets before placing them in individual foster care. Children are placed in group foster care during the weaning period defined as weaning the children from street life and high risk behavior. It is also suitable prior to any other form of family based care.
  1. Family or a family like environment is most conducive for a child and every child has the right to grow in such an environment;
  2. All decisions, initiatives and approaches falling within the scope of the present Guidelines are to be made on a case-by-case basis, with a view, to ensuring child’s safety and security, and must be grounded in the best interests of the child;
  3. All decisions, initiatives and approaches falling within the scope of the present Guidelines must respect the child’s right to be consulted and to have his views duly taken into account in accordance with his evolving capacities;
  4. Siblings and twins should preferably be placed in one family;
  5. Recognizing that every child has the right to grow in a family environment, every attempt must be made to reunite the child with his biological family by strengthening the biological family through a planned process.
    The following categories of children shall be considered for Foster Care:
  1. Children in the age group 0-6 years shall not ordinarily be considered for placement in long term Foster care as such small children should be preferably provided a permanent family through adoption; Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children, 2015 shall apply.
  2. Children in the age group of 6-18 years who have been staying in child care institutions; shall be placed in foster care based on their individual care plan developed in the institution;
  3. Children whose parents are terminally ill and have submitted a request to the Committee or the District Child Protection Unit for taking care of their child as they are unable to take care of their child;
  4. Children identified by DCPU through PO(NIC)
    • whose parents are mentally ill and are unable to take care of the child;
    • whose one or both parents are in jail;
    • who are victims of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, natural disasters and domestic violence.

i. The Child Welfare Committee, in conjunction with district and state functionaries shall ensure that the foster child’s best interest is upheld and his views are taken into consideration as far as possible in his placement.
ii. The Child shall have access to information on the situation of his biological family.

  • The foster carers/parents have following rights:

    1. Right to be heard and respected;
    2. Right of non-discrimination on the basis of their social origin
    3. Right to adopt the same child, after keeping that child in foster care for a minimum period of five years and the child has no claimant of his own, after following due procedures prescribed in the Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children, 2015
  • The foster carers/parents have following responsibilities towards the child placed in their care:

    1. General Responsibilities:
      • Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter;
      • Provide care, support and treatment for child’s overall physical, emotional and mental health;
      • Ensure education and vocational training according to the age, developmental needs and interests of the child;
      • Protection from exploitation, maltreatment, harm, neglect and abuse; Respect the privacy of the child and his biological family, and acknowledge that any information provided about them is confidential and is not to be disclosed to another party without prior consent.
      • Provide treatment in emergency situations and then inform PO(NIC)
    2. Responsibilities to be shared with the Protection Officer-Non Institutional Care:
      • Support contact between the child and his Protection Officer-Non-Institutional care;
      • Support contact between the child and his biological family in consultation with the Child Welfare Committee;
      • Share and discuss information pertaining to the progress of the child and enable Protection Officer- non-institutional care to write reports and, when required, attend meetings;
      • Seek approval of the Committee through PO(NIC) in advance for serious medical matters such as operatic procedures and the use of anesthesia;
      • Ensure that the child’s whereabouts are known at all times, including reporting any changes of address, holiday plans and any episodes of running away of child;
      • Report to the Protection Officer- Non-Institutional Care in case of any critical incidents such as injuries (accidental or non-accidental), instances of alleged abuse by any person and any criminal or self-harming behaviors exhibited by the child.

Following criteria shall apply for selection of individual and group foster carers/parents by the District Child Protection Unit:

  1. i. Both the spouses must be Indian citizens; (It is felt that at present single parent should not be encouraged for foster care as they are likely to enter matrimony and this may result in problems);
  2. ii. Both the spouses must be willing to foster the same child;
  3. iii. Both the spouses must be above the age of 35 years and must be in good physical, emotional and mental health; (No upper limit is being fixed for foster carers/parents as Home Study report will consider their suitability);
  4. iv. Ordinarily should have an income in which they are able to meet the needs of the child and are not dependent on the foster care maintenance payment for the child;
  5. v. Medical reports of all the members of the foster care family residing in the premises should be obtained including checks on Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV), Tuberculosis (TB) and Hepatitis B to determine that they are medically fit;
  6. vi. Should have adequate space and basic facilities;
  7. vii. Should be willing to follow rules laid down including regular visits to doctors, maintenance of child health and their records;
  8. viii. Should be willing to attend foster care orientation programes organized by the DCPU;
  9. ix. Must be without criminal conviction or indictment;
  10. x. Should have supportive community ties with friends and neighbors

i. These Guidelines are issued having regard to the provisions of the existing law and for the interpretation; the relevant law is to be referred to.
ii. In case of ambiguity or any dispute, the power to interpret these Guidelines vests with Ministry of Women and Child Development GOI.


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