The department of social welfare is conducting regular checks into homes run in the city to verify their licences.

Immediate inspections are being held in case of any complaints, said an official.

On Friday, the department rescued 42 persons from two unlicensed homes in Royapuram and Korukkupet based on a petition to the Chennai collector. Two persons were arrested. “One of them, Ananthiammal, claimed to be a social activist for the last 19 years, and was taking up burial of unclaimed bodies. She was running an NGO, Udhavum Kaigal, in Royapuram and Korukkupet and said she was involved in various social service activities,” said S. Revathi, district social welfare officer.

Children, including orphans, those with single parents and those from econo- mically-backward families, have been provided shelter.

Homes for children should be licensed as per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, but the NGO did not possess any licence to provide care for children, she said.

During inquiry, the children put forward a few complaints, including use of abusive language. Officials said further inquiry would reveal if the children faced other problems, including sexual harassment, at the homes.

“We sealed the homes as they did not comply with the norms,” said Ms. Revathi.

The rescued children have been sent to different facilities. Those aged above 18 have been sent to the department’s integrated complex, while the others have been sent to Government Children’s Home, Kellys. Three children aged below five have been sent to a government-approved NGO.

A police team lead by assistant commissioner of Washermenpet, P. Deivasigamani, arrested two persons.

A case has been registered against them at the Korukkupet police station under Section 4 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act.

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