A Bollywood filmmaker, who is the foster father of a two-year-old and the birth mother of the toddler, is on a custody line while a man has emerged claiming to be the boy’s father, an official said Sunday.
The toddler was found seriously injured in Borivli in September last year and had bite marks on the woman who claimed he slipped out of her hands and injured herself, an official from the Department of Women’s and Child Development said.
While the woman, who had come to Mumbai from Uttar Pradesh and left behind a day laborer’s husband and a 12-year-old son, was referred to a local NGO for the treatment of mental illness, the child was taken under care by the Child Welfare Committee, said the official.
After living in two nursing homes, the toddler was moved to the Bollywood director’s home in May this year as the previous family said the lockdown caused by coronavirus made him difficult to care for, the official said.
At a recent meeting of the Children’s Aid Committee in Mumbai, the Bollywood director said he could keep the toddler longer because the mother was mentally ill.
However, the 30-year-old mother said she was medically fit to take care of her son now. The committee requested a new medical fitness certificate for the mother at a government hospital and a decision on who to hold the toddler with is expected in a few days, the official said.
Meanwhile, a person claiming to be the birth father of the toddler has reached out to authorities, the official said, adding they were compliant with his DNA report. A DNA test last month confirmed the woman is the baby’s birth mother.
The toddler can be placed here under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act at the Children’s Aid Society in Mankhurd before the problem is resolved, the official said.
According to the Center for Foster Family Model Guidelines, a foster family can adopt a child after five years of care if the child does not have a biological family to claim them.
“We have been informed that the director, who is married with a son, does not intend to adopt the toddler,” the official said. However, when he saw the mother’s condition, he became concerned and asked that the child be cared for a little longer until he was okay, the officer added.
The NGO’s founder told the committee that the woman may develop “severe reactive depression” if she is kept away from her son for long periods, the official said.