Over 700 child care homes operating in Andhra Pradesh await renewal of registration

With the registrations expiring, regular inspections are no longer being done at these institutions which house over 14,000 children across the State

Published - June 28, 2023 07:06 pm IST - VIJAYAWADA

As many as 712 Child Care Institutions (CCIs) providing shelter to more than 14,000 minors across the State are now operating without any registration after their licences expired six months ago.

The minors housed in these CCIs are classified as Children in Need of Care and Protection (CNCP). They typically are orphans or semi-orphans, or come from broken families, or are victims of child trafficking and abuse.

Though the registrations expired six months ago, officials concerned have not issued orders for either for renewal or for issuing fresh registrations for the CCIs, also known as child care homes, in the State.

The child care homes should provide shelter to children below 18 years, and run as per the guidelines laid down by the Juvenile Welfare Departments. The District Probation Officers (DPOs), who are the nodal officers, are required to inspect the homes once in every quarter and submit reports to the Collectors, who is the registration authority.

Many violations

However, with the registrations not being renewed, no inspections were done at the CCIs, despite many complaints regarding sexual abuse of children, harassment, unhygienic conditions, and quality of food being reported from several institutions.

“As per Government Order No. 8 issued in 2017, all the CCIs run by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) or the government should be registered under Section 41 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015,” said a child rights activist.

For issuance or renewal of registration, a 12-member team will visit the CCI, and inspect the building and conduct a thorough audit of the power supply, sanitation, fire protection and first-aid facilities before submitting a report approving grant of registration. “With the registrations lapsing, there have been no inspections for over six months,” said an NGO representative who is in charge of a CCI.

SCPCR submits representation

The Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) said the home organisers were reluctant to admit CNCPs as they do not have registration. The District and State-level Inspection Committees are defunct, said a CWC member.

Speaking to The Hindu on Tuesday, Juvenile Welfare Department Director B.D.V. Prasad Murthy said the matter was represented to the government, which is supposed to issue orders for renewals or fresh registrations soon.

Meanwhile, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) Chairman K. Appa Rao and members of the panel on Tuesday submitted a representation to WD&CW Principal Secretary G. Jaya Lakshmi asking her to take steps for registration of child care homes in the State without further delay.

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