06 Jul

First Foster Care in Sundargarh District of Odisha

"ABANDONED CHILD" Such a heart-wrenching term it is! But imagine, such children finding a family who can vouch for them, love them and take care of them! Recently one such tremendous initiative was taken by the CWC & DCPO, Sundargarh. Bikhyat Bharati Kumura, the boy who has scored 83% marks in his 10th board exams was the tiny newborn who was once abandoned and rescued from a hospital by a doctor in the year 2003. The doctor who found him, further placed the chid in “Jayasankara Seva Ashram”, a Child Care Institution (CCI) in Sundargarh District. The child grew in the CCI, continued his education till class 9th . The CCI was the home and family for the child. The child was also declared legally free for adoption under the JJ Act 2015. In the year 2017 the matching happened and the child got adopted and went on to live with his adoptive parents who were based in New Delhi. The child who was brought up in a CCI, with a little or no exposure on how fast life is in the metros, facing a new language, the transition to a new education system (Odia Medium to English Medium), a whole new set of friends and over ambitious new parents took toll on the child. He often felt pressured and got depressed remembering his old friends and the CCI’s house mother whom he adored like his mother. Eventually, the child had to return back after three months to the parent CCI and was again institutionalized in another CCI named “Sishu Seva Ashram” of Sundargarh District by the order of the CWC. Years passed for Bikhyat with uncertainties about his future. His house mother also got married and relocated to a new place by then. After getting a clear understanding about foster care from the Round Table meetings organized by YCDA Resource Centre which is supported by UNICEF, Field Office Odisha, the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) and Child Welfare Committee (CWC) jointly planned to promote Foster care in Sunadrgarh district, starting with Bikhyat. It is said that “when you wish for something wholeheartedly, the whole world conspires to get it for you!” Bikhyat’s house mother Saraswati Tandia was childless for over 8 years after marriage. The vacuum of not having a child was filled when the DCPU Sundargarh contacted Saraswati and offered them to foster Bikhyat. Saraswati who is a teacher at Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya and her husband “Kishan Tanti” who is a vegetable vendor immediately agreed to the proposal. Saraswati Tandia immediately put forward her application to foster a child. The next challenge was the lockdown due to COVID-19, the process got delayed by 2 months but as soon as the restrictions slightly eased down, a quick vulnerability assessment was made for both parties (Foster Child and prospective foster parents) and on being cleared, the child was immediately placed with the foster family with due approval from the CWC. The foster parents have refused for any financial support and have voluntarily agreed to raise the child. Currently the child is way much happier with the foster parents rather than the adoptive parents. The CWC and DCPU are closely monitoring the child along with YCDA. Bikhyat expresses his pride, sense of security and happiness of having a family. The entire team of child protection functionaries of Sundargarh have set a positive example of putting a 17yrs old in foster care instead of adoption are doing really well in promoting family-based alternative care in the district. YCDA congratulates the Sundargarh DCPU & CWC, CCI and the Foster Parents for their efforts of gifting a child the joy and security of having a family!