Arunodayam Trust to take care of destitute mentally challenged children

K. Lakshmi

Formal recognition order issued to run reception units at five places

Order sanctions Rs.1.60 lakh to set up a reception unit Maintenance grant of about Rs.450 to each child to be sanctioned

CHENNAI: The city-based Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust has been designated as a reception unit to take care of abandoned mentally challenged children referred by the Child Welfare Committees at five places in the State, including Chennai.

A government order recognising the Trust as an institution to provide shelter to the rescued mentally challenged children during the enquiry period was issued recently. The order also sanctioned Rs.1.60 lakh to the Department of Social Defence to set up a reception unit, to accommodate 40 children, at the non-government organisation.

Sri Arunodayam, which is running a home for the mentally retarded at Kolathur, would act as the custodian of the mentally disabled children, below 18 years, rescued and referred from Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu, Villupuram, Ranipet and Chennai.

An official of the Social Defence department said it was imperative to identify a home in Chennai as the city received a large number of abandoned mentally disabled children.

As reception unit

Sri Arunodayam, which gave its consent to function as a reception unit, was chosen after inspection by the Child Welfare Committee.

Orders are to be issued to sanction a maintenance grant of about Rs.450 to each child, he said. After the final decision of the Child Welfare Committee, the children would be sent to Bala Vihar in Chennai or Arivagam at Mayiladuthurai, the official pointed out.

A member of the Child Welfare Committee in Chennai T.Alagappan said the Committee, which had the powers similar to that of a Metropolitan or Judicial Magistrate, adjudicated the cases of children in need of care and protection under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000.

Chennai registered at least 10 cases of abandoned mentally challenged children in a month, he said. While there were government observation homes for destitute children, facilities to take care of the mentally retarded children during the enquiry period were not available in various districts, Mr.Alagappan said.

S. Iyyappan, who runs Sri Arunodayam, said the home received three children, aged eight, from Vellore in the past one week.

The home was providing shelter to 65 mentally retarded, including 25 infants, he said.

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