CWC orders emergency review of child care institutes in district

Stung by the criticism levelled against a child care institute (CCI) in the wake of the sudden death of a 14-year-old mentally challenged girl inmate earlier this month, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has ordered an emergency review of all CCIs in the district.

The girl allegedly collapsed and died at the institute on January 11 following which the victim’s family took out a protest march to the CWC office at Thrikkakara with her dead body alleging institutional apathy. The girl was moved into the institute about two years ago after being allegedly abused sexually by her father and his friend.

“We have asked the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) to conduct an emergency review of all CCIs in the wake of the incident. A circular has also been issued asking all institutions to extend immediate medical support to inmates who complain of any physical, mental, or emotional unease besides counselling and psychiatric care, if needed,” said Bitty K. Joseph, chairperson, CWC.

The district has 95 CCIs registered under the Juvenile Justice Act, of which 71 are operational now. “A five-member team comprising a representative of CWC, a social worker, a child protection officer, a psychiatrist, and a doctor will inspect the institutes in the coming days,” said Sini K.S., District Child Protection Officer.

Clean chit given

Meanwhile, an internal probe ordered by the CWC following the incident has absolved the CCI concerned of any deliberate negligence leading to the death of the inmate.

The girl was under homoeo treatment since she was found to be allergic to allopathy after she developed a fever about a week before her death. She was being treated in a homoeo clinic in the neighbourhood and was about to be taken for an X-ray when she reportedly collapsed and died in the institute, which has been operating for the past 17 years.

The CWC also aims at leveraging technology to maintain real-time interaction with CCIs with a WhatsApp group comprising all CCIs and representatives of the CWC and the DCPU being a major tool. “We have been constantly in touch with CCIs over the group and they have been asked to immediately report any unusual developments, including health-related issues of inmates that threaten to go beyond control” said Ms. Joseph.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 11:40:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/cwc-orders-emergency-review-of-child-care-institutes-in-district/article33639335.ece

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