22,000 Kids in Welfare Centers

22,000 Kids in Welfare Centers 22,000 Kids in Welfare Centers

There are 22,000 children currently living in the country’s welfare centers and on an average, 7.5 families are perpetually in the queue to adopt a child.

While healthy children under the age of six months are more in demand for adoption, few people are willing to take custody of older children or children with health problems, said Habibollah Masoudi Farid, deputy of social affairs at the State Welfare Organization (SWO).

Annually, 1000-1200 children who are orphans or whose family identity is unknown are adopted by people who qualify after a thorough check on their background; however the number of children adopted per day equals the number of children entrusted to the country’s orphanages.

More than 87% of the children in welfare centers are children of negligent parents. In other words, only parents of 13% of the children are not living.  

At present, most of the abandoned children are in Khorasan Razavi, Kerman and Tehran provinces while Ilam has the lowest number.

Earlier, the SWO facilitated the child adoption process by allowing unmarried women over the age of 35 to adopt; something that once was the prerogative of only married couples. However, single women can only adopt a child when there is no eligible family; so given the high number of applicant families for children under the age of 6 months, their chances of getting custody of an infant is low, ISNA reported.

 Bill on Adoption

In order to encourage more couples to adopt homeless children, a new bill on adoption was approved by the government’s Social Commission and has been sent to the Cabinet for clearance, Masoudi Farid said.

According to the bill, the names of biological parents won’t be placed on the children’s birth certificates, as it can be problematic for both the children and the new parents.

“The bill also needs to be passed in the Majlis (parliament) before implementation,” he added.  

Despite the SWO’s efforts to provide good homes to all the children, many of them stay in the welfare centers until they reach the age of 18.

Annually, 3,000 orphaned children leave the country’s welfare centers after turning 18, according to Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabeie. “In addition to facilitating their marriage we should also create jobs for them.” Each one receives $5300 (180 million rials) assistance while leaving the welfare facility. “However, we want to increase our support by providing vocational training.”