The field of alternative care is rapidly growing in India. Alternative care includes family preservation, sponsorship, kinship care, adoption, foster care, aftercare and institutionalisation of children. All of these together make up the continuum of care.

The continuum is ordered by preference, in which the first presented alternatives are regarded as the least disruptive to, and most supportive for, the child and family. The alternatives at the bottom of the continuum should never be pursued as a first priority. As always, determining which form of support or care is most appropriate will vary from case to case, in accordance with the child’s best interest. See below for a brief description of each type of care.