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What is the difference between ‘Adoption’ and ‘Foster Care’?


Adoption and foster care are the two legitimate alternatives to build/ expand the family under the Juvenile and Justice Act (JJ Act). But, did you think that if these two are alternatives to build/ expand a family, that they same? Well… if you did, you’re not alone and they are exactly the opposite of each other.


Let me give you both the definitions to see the difference first and then I’ll explain the differences in detail.


In sub-section 2 of section 2 of JJ Act defines “adoption” means the process through which the adopted child is permanently separated from his biological parents and becomes the lawful child of his adoptive parents with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that are attached to a biological child;


In sub-section 29 of section of JJ Act defines “foster care” means placement of a child, by the Committee for the purpose of alternate care in the domestic environment of a family, other than the child’s biological family, that has been selected, qualified, approved and supervised for providing such care;


Difference # 1: First difference is permanency. In the definition of adoption, there is a phrase “permanently separated” and in the definition of foster care there is a phrase “alternative care in the domestic environment”.


When a family completes adoption under the JJ Act, it is irrevocable. Not just that but the adoptive parents receive rights, privileges and responsibilities that are attached to a biological child. It literally means, you have a new biological child at home.


When a family takes a child on foster care agreement, no such permanent separation that we saw in adoption takes place. It is only an alternative family environment and that means the child could still have the biological family and still be living in foster care.


Difference # 2: Fluidity of relationship: In adoption parental rights are granted to the adoptive parents where as in foster care, state remains the custodian of the child.


Do you have more questions like this? Consider joining in the scheduled in-person workshop on adoption and foster care to be held at Vellore on Thursday the 22nd of June, 2023. Click here more details and to register.


You can send your questions by whatsapp to 962941920 and we’ll answer them on this column.

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