With a view to engage with, advocate, support and operationalize the concept of foster care in India, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UK based Rainbow Fostering Services Ltd., run by one of its alumni, Aijaz Ahmed who did his post-graduation in Social Work in 1990.
The objective of the MoU is to create a favourable environment for foster care in India through advocacy and networking. It will also provide support to the Centre for Early Childhood Development & Research (CECDR), JMI in setting up a national resource centre in foster care in India said it’s Director, Prof. Zubair Meenai.
The UK-based organization will help JMI develop capacity of child care professionals in the area of foster care through training, field and exposure visits, distance mode courses, seminars and workshops.
To begin with 10 families will be identified for a pilot demonstrative foster care project in an appropriate location in the country. These will come from diverse religious, class and caste constituencies and tested for a larger engagement in the future, in the area of foster care, a concept that is still to take-off in India.
Aijaz Ahmad said that 30 million children in India are waiting to be adopted which explains the gravity of the situation. If steps were not taken to address this issue, many of the children might fall prey to trafficking, child prostitution and other criminal activities, he added.
Vice Chancellor, JMI, Prof Talat Ahmad said that he was hopeful that “the MoU will not only benefit the University and its students through teaching and exchange in this area but will also go a long way in generating an enabling environment for such children.” He hoped that the university’s Centre for Early Childhood Development & Research will organize more workshops and sensitization programmes that will create positive policy outcomes so that foster care finds place in the Indian socio-cultural setting.
As per the MoU, the technical and software related support will come from Rainbow Fostering Services Ltd. and Jamia will provide the space and infrastructure for the same. Further both sides shall evolve a mutually acceptable schedule to develop courses that will be offered in programmes such as M.A. in Early Childhood Development and Ph.D. in Early Childhood Development.
The joint effort will also help establish and advocate for the development of standards of foster care in India, learning from the UK example which has well-established tradition in foster care.