The Department of Social Justice will embark on a day-long inspection across the district next month to sift authorised orphanages and charitable homes from unauthorised ones. It will help them restrict the allotment of State government grant to eligible institutions.
At present, the department lacks an exhaustive data bank on orphanages and charitable homes. The drive planned for July 19 comes in the wake of the District Collector’s order to serve notice to all unregistered institutions.
“The drive will see all our 23 child development protection officers and 80-odd ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) supervisors in the district visiting all orphanages and charitable homes across the district. They will collect exhaustive information about these institutions based on which a databank will be drawn up,” said Ramamurthy H, District Social Welfare Officer.
A task force to monitor the functioning of the institutions is also on the anvil. The District Collector, who is the chairman of the District Level Monitoring Committee formed to review the functioning of homes, will decide on the members of the proposed force.
As per the Orphanage and Other Charitable Homes (Supervision and Control) Act, 1960, orphanages and charitable homes are required to apply for registration from the State Board of Control of Orphanages and Other Charitable Homes.
Besides, homes for the aged, disabled, mentally retarded, and children are required to procure license under separate laws governing them. For instance, a children home should be registered under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.
“Operating institutions without securing these mandatory clearances is an offence. The institutions operating without requisite registration and licenses will asked to either comply with the mandatory provisions or close down. We will give advice and guidance to such institutions to take them on board,” Mr. Ramamurthy said.
The district has 336 institutions receiving the State government grant and it is learned that unregistered ones may also be among them.
Fr. Vincent Naduvilaparambil, president, Ernakulam Orphanages Association, claimed the district had relatively few unauthorised institutions compared to rest of the State. He, however, admitted there may instances where “some may be operating homes as an avenue to source foreign aid”.
K. Tulasi, district in-charge in the Board of Control of Orphanages and Other Charitable Homes, said a large number of well-run homes remain unregistered out of ignorance.
“Rarely are homes started with mala fide intentions. To paint all institutions black with a broad brush will be like turning a blind eye to the service they render to society,” she said.