The Children’s Observation Home at Bondel here does not have a permanent counsellor.
According to an official of the Department of Women and Child Welfare, the home now houses 11 boys who are in conflict with the law.
“This is one of the basic requirements of the observation home,” pointed out Geo D’Silva, member, Dakshina Kannada Child Welfare Committee, a body with judicial powers constituted under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.
Mr. D’Silva said that it was important to counsel such children to help them lead a normal life in society.
“Yes, there is no permanent counsellor at the home. I have now written to the Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada to appoint one,” said A. Shakuntala, Deputy Director, Department of Women and Child Welfare.
She said that the Government had not created any “post” of counsellor for the home.
“Although there is no counsellor, we have not stopped counselling them. We are doing it by outsourcing,” she claimed.
Ms. Shakuntala said that students of Master of Social Work course in the city counselled them, in addition to a teacher from the School of Social Work, Valancia.
Mr. D’Silva said that such children should be exposed to games and sports, which was not being done now.
“There are now six staff members to look after the activities of the home. One person, a guard, was recently appointed on contract from a security agency. The guard is yet to report for the duty. There is already one guard now,” said an official of the department.
Referring to the guards the official said that earlier there were three guards in the home. But the Government wound up one post. “Till recently, a sweeper was made to do the duty of a guard,” the official said.
Mr. D’Silva said that the home did not have its own dedicated staff. “Those who are there are the ones who were posted after the Government closed the women’s reception centre at Vamanjoor,” he said.