Mystery shrouds child's death in orphanage

Last Updated 23 October 2010, 18:48 IST

The child was found dead in early July of this year and the orphanage authorities could not give a satisfactory explanation about the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.

Members of KSCPCR said that Rita Thomas, who runs the orphanage, could not provide any explanation about the reasons for the child’s death or for the presence of a seven-month-old child in the orphanage. This child was later sent to the Shishu Mandir on Hosur road. The boys, who were rescued, will be produced before the Child Welfare Committee on Monday, whereas the fate of the girls lodged at the Girls Home is unclear as there are no functioning CWC members for girls. Parents are now approaching the Homes to claim their children although.

An officer of the Social Welfare Department and Child Welfare Committee member had visited the orphanage in February, but had not found anything alarming. No records have been maintained of any children at the centre. There is a list of children being adopted but there are no details entered into registers about who have adopted them.

Nineteen children were rescued from the orphanage on Friday, after a complaint was received about a child dying and other children being ill treated.

Lackadaisical department

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2006, clearly mentions the need for registering and subsequently issuing a license for any place dealing with children by the Department of Women and Child Development.

Unfortunately, despite guidelines prepared by the KSCPCR itself on the procedure to go about registration, no interest was shown towards this until a couple of months ago. As a result, unregistered orphanages and children care homes flourish without any licence or monitoring.

Subsequently, none of these homes ever come under scrutiny unless a death is reported or complaints pour in through a third person. As of Saturday, the Department did not have a plan of action on how they would be dealing with the errant orphanage.

An official of the Department said that they have received about 30 applications for registration even though they suspect that there are at least 500 such homes in Bangalore.

The Department is now planning to issue a deadline for applying for registration soon. “Otherwise we will ask the local police to inform us of such institutions to take action against them,” the official said.

(Published 23 October 2010, 18:45 IST)

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