US adoption agency could be punished for Sherin Mathews death

SANYA DHINGRA 25 October, 2017

US adoption agency could be punished for Sherin Mathews death
Three-year-old Sherin Mathews was found dead in Texas | Source: Facebook/WhereIsSherin
CARA head says Holt International could be derecognised if lapses are found in its follow-up reports on three-year-old, Sherin Mathews, found dead in Texas.

New Delhi: The head of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) said Wednesday that India will derecognise US adoption agency Holt International if it finds any lapses in its follow-up reports on three-year-old Sherin Mathews, who was found dead in mysterious circumstances in Texas.

Holt International is an authorised foreign adoption agency (AFAA), which carried out the mandatory pre-adoption home study and the post-adoption follow-ups in the case of the girl, who was adopted from Gaya, Bihar.

“We had received positive recommendations (about the family), which is why we allowed the adoption in the first place,” CARA CEO Deepak Kumar told ThePrint.

“The agencies in the US are extremely efficient with regard to their checks,” Kumar said, but added that it is difficult to always be 100 per cent sure. “They (Holt International) will be sharing their investigation report, and if we find a lapse, we will derecognise them.”

Sherin’s father Wesley Mathews has claimed that she choked while drinking milk, and that he removed her body from the house as he “believed she had died”. His testimony has come under sharp criticism for its glaring loopholes, with residents in the neighbourhood in Dallas alleging foul play.

Wesley, who has been re-arrested and charged with first-degree felony injury to a child due to a conflicting statement to the police, had earlier claimed that he had punished Sherin by putting her under a tree at 3 am for not drinking milk.

The response of the Indian government and CARA, which is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions, has so far been cautious.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development organised a review meeting on the ‘Implementation of Adoption Programme by the States & Union Territories: Challenges & Way Forward’ Tuesday, but made no mention of Sherin’s case in its public statements.