For lack of facilities mandatory under Juvenile Justice Act

The district administration on Wednesday ordered closure of St. Anne’s Home for Children here on the grounds that it had not complied with the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.

This came as a shock to parents of children staying in the home that accommodates over 500 girls. The home was closed for students from fourth to ninth, while those studying in SSLC, Plus One and Plus Two were spared owing to the public examinations.

The order for closure of the registered home was served on its warden by the District Social Welfare Officer in the afternoon. The officials wanted the children to be handed over to them immediately so as to accommodate them in some other hostels.

Many parents assembled on the campus by evening and urged officials not to shift their wards to other homes as recommended by the district administration.

They gave in writing to the officials and wanted them not to disturb the education of their wards studying in the school functioning on the same campus just when the final exam was fast approaching.

Stern action from the district administration came about after Child Welfare Committee members and officials of the Department of Social Defence and Department of Social Welfare inspected the Home a few days ago and noticed several deficiencies.

The Home is run by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Anne’s that runs St. Anne’s Girls HSS and the middle school on the same campus.

A senior official in the department said the home did not have bathrooms and the girls were not provided with proper nutritious food. The girls were reportedly asked to bathe in open place. The official said the children were abused besides alleging that the home authorities collected money from them.

Many students residing in the home come from a poor economic background from various districts. The home also accommodates orphans and wards of single parents.

The official said during a medical check up a few days ago, many students were found to be anaemic and were carrying tract urinary infection, nutritional deficiencies besides visual and menstrual problems. The Home was ordered closure as it did not comply with the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, the official said. Officials from different departments had long deliberations with the parents stating that their wards would be accommodated in nearby schools.

Sources said the management had informed the officials that it would rectify the shortcomings.

They had also told the officials that they would hand over the children to their parents.