NEW DELHI: A large number of children in shelter homes are often left unsupervised at night, subjected to corporal punishment for “discipline”, given sub-standard food, not provided adequate medical or legal aid, and left to languish for years without proper education or skill training.
These are some of the findings of the first-ever nationwide mapping and review of over 9,589 child-care institutions that house nearly 3.8 lakh minors who are either in conflict with the law, orphans, victims of trafficking, or abandoned by their families.
Incidentally, the mapping of shelter homes was on when the Muzaffarpur case — where over 20 girls were being sexually abused over months, and probably years — came to light.
The review was led by a committee headed by Ratna Anjan Jena, statistical advisor to the Women and Child Development Ministry, and was submitted to the government in September 2018.
It highlighted that more than 50% of shelter homes did not produce children before Child Welfare Committees or Juvenile Justice Boards, as mandated by the Juvenile Justice Act. Further, just 7% of homes have ever been audited socially.
The national average of the percentage of homes that submit children’s social investigation reports to CWCs or JJBs, as required by the law, is just 31%.
Further, only 65 per cent of homes segregated children on the basis of age-groups and gender, thus compromising their privacy and safety. Just 24% of homes have a written “child protection policy”.
The report also noted that just 46 per cent homes have enough care-givers while, just 23.6 per cent homes have a written “Child Protection policy” and less than 40 per cent submit their financial audit reports to relevant authorities in time.
The report also noted that while government funding is the major source of support for most homes in comparison to individual donations, aids from NGOs or international grants, about 47 per cent homes did not receive grants from the government as per the prescribed timelines and norms in past three years.