Caught in red tape, special orphans cry out for care

The May 30 GR came after Bombay High Court asked for a medical examination of each one of the children with special needs housed in the homes in the wake of the Panvel case where five mentally challenged girls at a shelter home were raped.

There were reports of sexual harassment at another home for mentally challenged children in Mumbai as well. Both cases were brought to light by a committee appointed by the High Court in 2010 to investigate the condition of shelter homes in Maharashtra.

Child Welfare Committee (CWC) members have repeatedly pointed out that the facilities at WCD homes are not adequate for children with special needs. "The department is not equipped to handle these children. We have been moving these children to homes at various places or putting them in the care of NGOs," a CWC member said.

Deputy Commissioner More said, "If these homes are taken over by the social welfare department, they can appoint trained staff and give the children necessary care. For this year, we have provided the budget, but from the next financial year the social welfare department should look into the matter."

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