Kerala

New norms for re-entry to child-care centres

Home study before readmission

The government has issued orders that children living in child care institutions who have returned to their homes in the wake of the lockdown will be readmitted only after conducting a home study.

A certificate of the child welfare committee concerned will be mandatory for readmitting the children to the institutions. Destitute certificates issued by village authorities will not be valid for admitting a child to a child care institution, says the order issued by the Women and Child Development Department.

Alternatives

As per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, a child should be placed in institutional care only as a last resort after making a reasonable enquiry. The Supreme Court, the order says, has directed that State governments should consider deinstitutionalisation as a viable alternative. It has also observed that every child in need of care and protection need not be placed in a child care institution. Alternatives such as adoption and foster care should be considered.

The Women and Child Development Director has reported that of the 20,000 children in the institutions, 16,980 have gone back home, leaving behind 5,049 children.

Accordingly, the government has ordered that no child will be admitted to a child care institution without the orders of the child welfare committee. Parents should submit a request to the committee for accommodating the children in an institution.

Evaluation method

The home study of children who have returned to their houses will be conducted by the department. In districts where the number of such children is more than 20, the study should be conducted by Child Development Project Officer or ICDS supervisor with the support of anganwadi workers. At present, home study is already being conducted by District Child Protection Units. If the number of such cases exceeds 20, the CDPOs will pitch in.

After evaluation under the leadership of District Women and Child Development Officer, the report should be submitted to the child welfare committee recommending the deinstitutionalisation plan for a child. The committees after examining the report should consider the child for alternatives such as adoption, foster care, or sponsorship, limiting institutional care to the most essential cases.

Penalty

If an institution admits a child without the order of the committee, the authorities of the institution will be liable for imprisonment up to six months or a fine of ₹10,000 or both. Grant-in aid of these institutions will be withheld for violation of the juvenile justice Act.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 3:20:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/new-norms-for-re-entry-to-child-care-centres/article31782425.ece

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