‘After-care support is vital'

Nomita Chandy, founder of Aashraya Children's Home in Bangalore. File photo

Nomita Chandy, founder of Aashraya Children's Home in Bangalore. File photo   | Photo Credit: K_GOPINATHAN

The system is failing as there are so many repeat offenders

“Invisible children” is what Nomita Chandy, director of Ashraya, a centre for homeless and abandoned children, calls those who pass through correctional facilities. She believes while it is important to look after thechildren while they are in observation homes, it is even more important to follow up when they are outside.

The need for monitoring after their release from these homes is the vital missing link as there is nil after-care support.

“Once they're out, these boys are not seen anymore, they become invisible. They should be given support so that they don't get into bigger crimes,” she explains, pointing to the risk that the boys run as easy targets for criminal gangs.

The system is failing as there are so many repeat offenders, she adds.

Released too soon?

The problem, she says, lies in the fact that they are released too soon. “Ideally, the children should be kept in the homes for at least six months. This way, the results of the vocational training, counselling and extracurricular activities will show. But what's the use if they are released in a month or two?”

There is need for reform within the care facility too. Apart from more extracurricular activities, regular medical tests should be conducted, and issues of homosexuality and the vulnerability of younger children must be seriously looked into, says Ms. Chandy. She stressed the importance of the role of counsellors inside these homes.

“Suicide [attempt] is a cry for help, but they're not getting it. Counsellors can make help reach early. However, one-off counselling is not going to help,” she says.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 2:10:56 AM |

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