Recently, five children were rescued from an unregistered children’s home in Kadachanendal and an FIR was registered against the person running the home. Similarly, 16 children were rescued from an unregistered children’s home in Tirumangalam in April last during the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown.
Following these incidents, Child Welfare Committee (CWC) officials have stressed the need to register all children’s homes in the district to ensure protection of children and their rights.
CWC Chairperson V.M. Vijaya Saravanan says the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, mandates that all children’s homes must be registered. While the District Child Protection Unit helps in registration of child care institutions (CCIs) with the Department of Social Defence, it is the CWC which can take the decision regarding admission of children to the CCIs.
There are 36 registered child care units, two special adoption agencies and one reception unit in the district.
Jim Jesudoss, Director of Childline, says once a children’s home is registered, it comes under the surveillance of the government. The Home Management Committee will conduct meetings in all the CCIs once in every three months. “During these meetings, the committee discusses the functioning of that particular CCI with the inmates. The children can air their grievances and the problems can be sorted out,” he says.
The surveillance by the government can also help prevent any possible abuse of inmates, says Mr. Vijaya Saravanan. “We create awareness of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, to the children of the CCIs,” he says. All the CCIs are being periodically inspected by the officials, he says.
In many cases, non-governmental organisations are not aware that they need to separately register under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. “Any children’s home that has not been registered can approach us and we will help them register. Similarly, the public can contact us at [email protected] to inform us if they come to know about any unregistered children’s home,” he says.
CWC member B. Pandiaraja says people should donate only to registered children’s homes.
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