About 80 per cent of children adopted within the country since 2015 were aged 0-2 years, while just two per cent were in the age group of 10-18, the Women and Child Development Ministry said on Thursday.
In a written response to a question in Rajya Sabha, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani presented data of in-country adoptions from 2015-16 to 2020-2021, as on February 3, 2021).
According to the data, of the 16,856 children adopted within the country in the last five years, 13,495 were in the age group of 0-2 years, 1,340 were in the age group of 2-4 years, 889 were aged 4-6 years, 401 were aged 6-8 years, 350 were aged 8-10 years, 192 were in age group of 10-12 years, 100 in the age group of 12-14 and 59 were in age group of 14-18 years.
Ms Irani said the number of infants below the age of three months adopted during 2016-2017 to 2020-2021, as on February 3, 2021, is 725.
Responding to a question on the time taken to declare a child legally free for adoption, Ms Irani said as per section 38 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, orphaned and abandoned children are required to be declared legally free for adoption within two months in case of a child up to the age of two years and within four months in case of a child above the age of two years, after following the due procedure.
"Further, the surrendered children are required to be declared legally free for adoption after two months (reconsideration period) from the date of surrender of the child," she said.