THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Child Welfare Committee is in the dark about the children admitted to the nearly 100 orphanages in the district. Reason: Most of the orphanages in the district, even those receiving grants from the state, refuse to produce before the CWC the children they newly admit to their homes as is mandated by the Juvenile Justice Act.
The High Court, in a 2015 order related to the trafficking of children, had stated that CWCs should ensure that orphanages follow the right procedure while taking in children. “We will know what is happening in these orphanages only if they produce these children before the CWC,” a district CWC member said.
As per the law, whenever a child is brought to an institution, he or she has to be first produced before the CWC and seek its approval. The CWC will then allow the admission of the child but will direct a welfare officer to investigate the background of the child.
“Along with a profile check of the child, the welfare officer will also have to probe whether the children’s home to which the child has been admitted has the infrastructure to support the child,” a top Social Justice Department official said. If the child admitted is from another state, the CWC will have to get in touch with its counterpart in the state concerned. But as long as no child is produced before the CWC, these procedures are not followed.
It is also virtually impossible for the CWC to conduct a suo motu probe into the institutions concerned. “The authorities of these institutions do not like us visiting their homes. There are people who stand up as we go in, not as a mark of respect but as a sign that they want us out as soon as possible,” the CWC member said. There are 90 orphanages or children’s homes in the district recognised by the Board of Control for Orphanages and Other Charitable Homes....