Vijayawada city has a model child tracking system which is attracting experts from other states. A team consisting of UNICEF and Maharashtra State officials visited the city to study the system in place for tracking children, including those reported as missing, in various institutions and homes in the city.

The team of officials including Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) Commissioner Bajirao Jadhav interacted with key stakeholders of Forum for Child Rights, District Collector Peeyush Kumar, Government Railway SP A.S. Khan and other officials involved in the operation of various homes for children.

The team of experts also visited the various homes being maintained by the SKCV, Navajeevan and went to the Child Safety Net Village at Penamaluru to study the functioning of the HomeLink Network, a child management information system and service software, which is in operation in these institutions.

The expert group member Santosh Shinde said that there were 1,208 homes under the Juvenile Justice System in the 35 districts of Maharashtra.

The team had come to study the operation of the network being used for keeping track of children. Along with a Child Welfare Committee (CWC) that was statutory under the Central Juvenile Justice Act, Maharashtra had constituted a Task Force for each district. The State had a Children's Commissioner to take care of the welfare of children that fall under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Justice Act, he said.

Mr. Shinde said that the convergence between the NGOs and government departments was very good in Vijayawada. While the strong NGOs do not require the support of the Government the Government Departments required the support of the NGOs to take care of the problem of children covered under the JJ Act, he said.

Don Bosco YaR Forum India National Director Joe Prabu said that the Homelink Network was designed for tracking not just missing children, but all types of children including drop outs, child labour, children affected by disasters and those in conflict with law.

The stakeholders of the network were CWCs (which every district must have), the police, the Juvenile Justice Boards, Government Children's homes, NGOs Children's Homes and the general public, Fr. Joe said.

More In: Vijayawada