A special drive is being organised to inspect childcare homes in the State by forming teams of revenue, police, social welfare, education and labour department officers.
The exercise is to verify the registration/relevant documents and situation of such homes in accordance with a government letter, the police have submitted before the Madras High Court.
In a further report pursuant to an order of the High Court on childcare institutions, Director-General of Police Letika Saran stated that the Social Welfare Department proposed to take action against unregistered/institutions, which had not submitted applications for registration. The further report had been filed on behalf of the Chief Secretary and the Secretaries of Home and Social Welfare Departments. It stated there were 2,054 childcare institutions in the State, including 79 government homes and 1,975 private childcare homes.
All government homes had been exempted from registration earlier. As registration was mandatory, all registered homes, including government ones, are to be re-registered. Applications seeking registration were being processed.
In each district, five teams had been formed under the District Collector's supervision to inspect the homes to verify the children's health and safety conditions, education and availability of infrastructure in the facilities. So far, District Social Welfare Officers (DSWO) had recommended 147 institutions for registration. Following public complaints, 29 homes were inspected. It was found that they had not maintained the facility as per minimum standards. Hence, after transferring the inmates to the nearest licensed agencies, the institutions were closed.
Similarly, five institutions were closed by DSWOs during inspection as the institutions were “not child-friendly, not treating the children properly and infrastructure facilities were not good.” Aggrieved, the institutions' owners moved the High Court.