Following a recent incident at Pollachi, wherein two girls were abducted from a children’s home and raped at knifepoint, District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) has received a 31-point agenda from State Child Protection Society to ensure safety in children’s homes in the district.

“The agenda specifies a series of norms, which include round-the-clock security, registration of all children’s homes and installation of complaint boxes,” said District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) M. Vijayalakshmi.

There were 51 children’s homes functioning in the district, and 24 homes were yet to be registered or were in the process of getting registered, she added.

District Collector L. Subramanian said the unregistered homes in the district had been instructed to comply with the norms and get registered.

Officials from District Social Welfare Department said at present, there were scheduled and surprise inspections at children’s homes as part of a monthly review.

“We work in association with field officials who keep vigil on these homes. We have increased vigil on these homes following instructions from the Directorate of Social Welfare to ensure adequate protection for the children after the Pollachi incident,” stated R. Anandavalli, District Social Welfare Official (DSWO).

The inspections committee comprises the DCPO, DSWO, members of Child Welfare Committee, Anti-Human Trafficking Wing and an NGO from the district.

“Four children’s homes were closed during last year. Many of the homes in the district are short-staffed despite norms stating that there should be one caretaker for 25 children,” said Jim Jesudoss, Director of Madurai Childline.

An orphanage in Nagamalai-Pudukottai was closed and eight girls, who had been physically abused, were rescued by the DCPU in October 2013.

Speaking about the security measures which should be implemented, Ms. Anandavalli said homes with young girls had been instructed to have only female security personnel or a warden.

“Members of the children’s families or other adults should not be allowed to stay on the premises,” she added.

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