A couple of days ago, the childline office here received a call from the Railway Protection Force alerting them of a “runaway” boy found wandering at Tiruchi Junction.

Acting on the information, childline staff rescued the nine-year-old minor and brought him to their office to provide temporary shelter and assistance.

During the interaction, the minor told the childline staff that he had left his home in Madurai and complained that his mother used to beat him often prompting him to resort to this step.

This was the fourth time in two months that the boy had runaway from his home and arrived in Tiruchi, said childline authorities.

The minor, a class 5 student, was handed over to his parents who too were counselled.

Another case which the childline came across recently was that of a 13-year-old boy who used to flee his home at Ariyamangalam frequently.

The boy was rescued last time in Andhra Pradesh by childline volunteers of that State and handed over to his mother.

Having lost his father, the boy apparently did not like the atmosphere at home, say the authorities.

Providing emergency assistance round-the-clock to children in distress, the Tiruchi Childline has rescued many runaway children this year too and restored several of them with their parents.

In the last eight months (April to November), the Tiruchi Childline had rescued over 170 minors who had run away from their places of stay.

A little over 100 of them were re-united with their parents after producing them before the Child Welfare Committee, while the rest were rendered shelter assistance — either short-term or long-term depending on their requirement.

A majority of the runaway children had come across over the years were boys, says A. Albert Manoharan, Tiruchi Childline coordinator.

Broken families, parents living in separation, no proper parental care for children, and lack of attention have been major causes for children running away from their homes, says Mr. Manoharan. He cites these factors from the numerous cases the childline had intervened over the years. Upon re-uniting the child with the parent, the childline does a follow up over phone for six months with the parents.

There have been instances where children have called up the childline over phone seeking emotional support and guidance for their personal problems.

Over 100 such calls from minors have landed at Tiruchi Childline seeking their guidance.

The childline at first tries to make the child in distress comfortable, slowly gain their confidence so as to ascertain their problem and requirements and act accordingly, says Mr. Manoharan.

“We not only counsel the child in distress but also the parent before re-uniting the minor with them,” he says.

R. Rajaram explains how Tiruchi Childline follows up the rescue of the child by counselling parents