The district administration ordered the closure of R.K. Trust Children’s Home in Kadachanendhal here on Wednesday night for not having registered itself under the Juvenile Justice Act and for violating infrastructure and hygiene norms.
Officials said the home accommodated 53 children from the age of 4 to 16, who were either orphans, semi-orphans or belonging to poor families. An inspection committee comprising members of District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), District Social Welfare Department, Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Anti-Human Trafficking Squad and personnel from Appan Tirupathi police station visited the home following which Collector L. Subramanian issued the closure order.
This is the seventh home to be closed in the district in the last one year. Of the 53 children at the home, 14 were handed over to their parents on the spot. “Since most of them were below six years, we counselled the parents to keep the children with them till they turned 10,” District Social Welfare Officer R. Anandavalli said.
The rest of the children were sent to Balamandiram Boys Home and Sevashram Girls Home.
“We inspected the home five times and issued notices asking them to get it registered but there was no compliance. The children were housed in a single room with an asbestos roof,” said District Child Protection Officer M. Vijayalakshmi. “There were no safety measures in place and anyone could simply scale the low compound wall to enter the room,” she said.
The children were also reportedly given leftovers from weddings and other functions as food on a daily basis, Ms. Anandavalli said. “The leftover food was kept and served for a few days even after it became inedible,” she added.
The Collector, on Thursday, issued an order to take strict action against unregistered children’s homes that flouted rules. There are 24 unregistered homes in the district.
Senior officials said there were two more homes that would be shut down within the next 15 days.