CHENNAI: A study on government children homes in Tamil Nadu reveals that 74 percent inmates are willing to return to their parents while 58 percent are staying put as they have no help outside. If sent out, the latter would end up in hotels or mechanic shops besides engaged in cleaning toilets or beg for livelihood.
The study was carried out by Community Health Education Society (CHES), an NGO working for child health care, in association with Directorate of Social Defense, Tamil Nadu.
It was conducted among 115 children (13-18 years of age) and 14 family members at Government Children Home for Boys, Royapuram. It also included data available with Child Welfare Committee where 1102 children were included and of 30 children in the government children home, who were placed for their long developmental needs.
About 55.7 percent of children said their family situation was not conducive to live due to frequent quarrels among parents and neighbours and debts.
Interestingly, 40 percent said they were happy after leaving the home. Also around 17.3 percent have been away from the home more than once. One fourth of the children had lived more than one year and another 12.2 percent lived more than three years away from family.
Objectives of the study was to develop strategies for ensuring a conducive environment of care and protection at the Government homes.
Representatives from Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Juvenile Aid Police Unit (JAPU), Child Helpline, Probation Officers and Staff of Government Children Home were involved in conducting the study.
An important finding was that the Child Welfare Committee did not have adequate financial and human resources except the services of probation officers and a lone junior assistant.
It said the JAPU needed an exclusive building with all facilities, adequate space for the officials, exclusive spaces for boys and girl children, toilet and bathing facilities, safety room for keeping records etc.
It also revealed that Childline volunteers have no guidelines on handling of cases.
65 % children happy when clothes were given
21% felt secure when they took their belongings
40% said government home staff were nice
Only 0.9 % studied up to class X