November 17, 2020
TED NewsDesk, New Delhi: A social audit of all childcare homes was ordered in 2018 when cases of Child Sexual Assault (CSA) were reported from childcare institution’s in Deoria, Uttar Pradesh, and Muzaffarpur, Bihar. This audit saw as many as 2,764 childcare institutions across India wherein nearly 40% had inadequate measures to prevent any form of physical or mental abuse of children that causes lifetime trauma.
The audit was carried out in 7,163 Childcare Institutions (CCIs), which house over 2.5lakh children across India. It found that 2,764 institutions, accounting for 39% of such homes, have inadequate measures to prevent physical and mental abuse of children residing in them. Among states, 93.8% of homes in Andaman and Nicobar, 74.2% homes in Karnataka, and 86.8% of homes in Tripura don’t have adequate measures for the prevention of child abuse.
An official at the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) said that a lack of these measures can act as a trigger for physical and emotional abuse of children at childcare homes in India. This report also found that 1,504 of the homes lack exclusive toilet facilities, while 434 do not have privacy in toilets as well as in bathing areas for the children. 373 such homes also saw a lack of provisions for individual, clean, seasonal, and age-appropriate clothing for children, among other necessities like toiletries and 1,069 homes don’t have individual beds for children.
According to the report, 2,039 Childcare institutes constituting 28.5% of these homes are not registered. Among states, 88% of institutions in Maharashtra are not registered, followed by 51% in Himachal Pradesh and 46% in Delhi. Managing committees of such homes that take important decisions were also found in 90% of such institutions but regular meetings were held in only 5% of the same. “If these meetings are not conducted then it means that no one has the accountability of the homes About b23% of the homes did not have a cook so who prepares the food? About 48% of the homes did not have counsellors,” an NCPCR official said.
He added saying that 29% of the childcare homes have staff who do not have training on the rehabilitation process of children. About 70% of these homes haven’t provided training to its staff in child rights protection, while 61% did not conduct caregiving training for children. Once the social audits were ready, the childcare homes were also examined by the commission, and various measures missing and discrepancies were found in all the 7,164 CCIs that were audited, he said. “Considering the seriousness of the issue and in the best interest of the children to ensure their safety and security, the commission took cognizance, and the shortcomings and discrepancies highlighted in the CCI report were communicated to district magistrates/ district collectors for immediate action. These shortcomings were also brought to the notice of the Principal Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development of States,” he said.
He explained that a serious case was observed at a childcare home in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh which was established to mitigate the hardships caused to the children post-partition activities. “We found certain violations in the upkeep of the said CCI. As the commission was itself surprised over such a large number of infirmities, it decided to have first-hand information about the home before submitting its report to the court and therefore, visited the home and the facts mentioned in the report to be true,” he added, concluding with his exasperation at the situation, “The condition of the home was so pathetic that it was difficult to believe. Bathrooms of the CCI (meant for girls) did not have doors and general upkeep of the CCI was far from satisfactory. Children were living here without CWC order. The district magistrate was asked to explain the pathetic state of affairs of the children’s home,” he said.
With the situation at hand, immediate respite for the children living in CCIs across India must be a top priority for state officials with the dire need for rapid improvement. The cycle of neglect has to break at some point for the general bad upkeep of such institutions in India- a country that continues to boast of its girl-child welfare schemes and programmes.
Source: Edex Live