Tighter govt scan on children’s homes

The State Government's Women and Child Welfare Department headquartered in Pune has tightened its grip on shelters run for children by seeking strict compliance with a new set of 40 rules.

The move comes shortly after it came to the department's notice that many children's homes are either not registered or lack proper facilities.

A government resolution (GR) issued recently has asked the institutions to follow the 40 rules in letter and spirit. "We have sent the directive to the respective district officers, " said a senior official of the Women and Child Welfare Department.

The state has 1,100 shelter homes and there are 250 applications for setting up new ones. "Each application has to be assessed by the respective district officer. Only after the applicant commits in writing to strictly adhere to norms will permission be granted,"an official said.

The GR states that rules have also been tightened for better justice delivery under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and to ensure children are protected in shelters. Over 60 homes in the state had recently faced suspension of licence for flouting rules. Women and Child Welfare Minister Varsha Gaikwad stressed strict implementation of norms. So have members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).

Officials said the new directives are aimed at ensuring transparency in functioning of the shelters and ensuring adequate supervision of children's shelters in the state. "There is stress also on strict documentation," officials said.

The rules include ensuring that the name of institutions as registered is used and details, photos of the building and affidavits, besides professional qualifications are attested by the District Women and Child Welfare Department.

The homes have been asked to give the age group, besides and number of children — the minimum being 10 and the maximum 50 — they intend to house.

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