The new rules for adoption, framed under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, would be in effect from Monday, ANI reported. The new rules allow for adoptions of children of relatives, a spouse from an earlier marriage or surrendered by the biological parent(s), through the Central Adoption Resource Authority.

Earlier, only an orphan or a child abandoned or surrendered by the biological parents was allowed to be adopted. “This will further strengthen the adoption programme in the country by streamlining the adoption process,” said a statement issued by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

The new rules have provisions specifying adoption fees, ethical practices, timelines in the process and maintains that each District Child Protection Unit should have a panel of professionally qualified social workers. The new regulations have also waived off the age criteria for prospective adoptive parents.

In the case of a stepchild’s adoption, the couple, including one of the biological parents, must register with the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System and also get the other biological parent’s consent. For this, an application for an adoption order needs to be filed in a court.

For adoption by a relative, the prospective parent(s) will need the consent of the biological parents, if they are alive, or approach the Child Welfare Committee. A relative can be a paternal uncle or aunt, a maternal uncle or aunt, or a paternal or maternal grandparent.