The country’s child rights apex body, NCPCR has directed eight states to send back the children in child care homes to their respective families. Eight states including, Mizoram, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Meghalaya, account for 70% of the children living in child care homes in the country.
The two primary reasons behind this move by NCPCR are that firstly, it’s a child’s right to grow up in a familial environment. Secondly, it is to ensure the safety of the children living in these institutions.
NCPCR has also directed the district magistrate and collectors to ensure that the children return to their families, preferably within 100 days. If they are unable to do so, the child should be put up for adoption or kept in foster homes. NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo stated that this exercise would be carried out in a phased manner, starting with these eight states, and it will be then done in the rest of the country. “The principle of the Juvenile Justice Act is to keep children with families, and keeping children in child care homes must be the last resort till all attempts are made to give them an atmosphere of home,” he affirmed.
NCPCR said, “Keeping in view these alarming concerns to the safety and security of these CNCP, the Commission has initiated the exercise of monitoring the repatriation and restoration of the CNCPs placed in various CCIs, except SAA (specialised adoption agency) and Observation Homes”.
Safety of children in these shelter homes had become a major concern after the horrific incident of sexual assault against girls in Deoria, Uttar Pradesh came to light last year when a 10-year-old girl managed to flee from the shelter home and reported about the plight of the inmates.