Shocking Practices Found in Govt-run Children’s Homes

By Sovi Vidyadharan – THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Published: 06th May 2014 09:12 AM

Shocking practices prevalent in many government-run children’s homes have come to the fore during a recent inspection of such facilities by members of the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.  In observation homes (for juveniles in conflict with law), the Commission found that the inmates were lodged in ‘’cells’’ similar to prisons. In some observation homes, lights were kept ‘’on’’ throughout the night on the pretext of preventing ‘’homosexual tendencies’’ among them.

 ‘’Children complained of not getting enough sleep which would seriously affect their physical and mental well-being,’’ the Commission observed. The child rights panel also found that staff of such homes, who have allegedly abused children physically, were promoted and posted to the same home or were merely transferred without ‘’appropriate intervention.’’  ‘’In many districts, it was found that homes for children in need of care and protection, observation homes and after-care homes were functioning in the same compound. Non-segregation of children on the basis of age, lack of vocational or skill development training facilities and absence of proper accounting and audit were other anomalies detected by the Commission.

 ‘’The Director of Social Justice has been asked to address these issues and furnish an action-taken report within two months. The Commission has also asked the government to bring all childcare institutions under the Juvenile Justice

Act to improve the standards and to ensure better entitlement for children,’’ Commission Chairperson Neela Gangadharan told ‘Express’.  At present, there are nine Children’s Homes (for children needing care and protection), two Special Homes (for juvenile convicts) and 14 Observation Homes (for juvenile undertrials) in the state, with close to 750 inmates.  ‘’We have called a meeting of the Superintendents of various children’s homes on May 9 to formulate an action plan. In fact, our efforts to bridge gaps in the functioning of children’s homes had begun even before the Commission’s order. We are planning to implement the action plan from mid-June,’’ said V N Jithendran, Director, Social Justice Department.