Inmates in children home increasingIMPHAL | May 15
Every year, May 15 is celebrated as ‘International Day of Families’ across the globe. The celebration marks that family still remains the basic social unit.
In a state like Manipur, most people considered that there is not much significance of such celebration. However, data shows that people need to engage with their family members more and should realise the importance of living together with family members.
As per data available with the Social Welfare department of the state, there is an increase of more than 200 children staying in children homes from 2018 to 2019.
The total number of children, who are in need for their care, treatment, education, training, development and rehabilitation, staying in children homes funded by the department as on March 31, 2019 was 1306.
Altogether 317 children in need of care and protection (CNCP) are staying in open shelters which are community based facility for children in need of residential support on short term basis, with the objective of protecting them from abuse or weaning them or keeping them, away from a life on the streets.
The number of children in conflict with law who are staying in observation homes during pendency of any enquiry regarding them under the law is 62 and the number of children aged from 0 to 6 years staying in specialised adoption agencies for temporary placement for legal adoption is also 62.
It should also be realised that a large number of children are taking shelter in children homes which are not funded or recognised by the Social Welfare department.
Meanwhile, deputy director, Social Welfare department, Binobala Nongmeikapam, told IFP that children staying in children homes are likely have institutional syndrome, that may hamper them in their social and life skills after they leave the institution.
When queried why the number of children staying in children homes is on the rise, she said that it is generally the modern lifestyle that is affecting the families. For children who have become orphans, it is alright if they stayed in children homes. However, very often a child is forced to stay in a home because of a conflict between parents, she pointed out while adding that awareness among the people is also behind the rise as people have now reported the authorities concerned whenever they encounter unfortunate children.
Village Level Child Protection Committee are also likely to be set up very soon under District Child Protection Unit to enable more of such unfortunate children to be identified, she conveyed and expressed concern that there are only two ‘Aftercare’ NGOs looking after the children who have become adults till they attain 21 years.
While stressing that institution should be alternative arrangement, she asserted that the most safe and secure place for a child is their parents’ lap. The main aim of the institutions is to reunite the children, who are in need of utmost care and affection, with their families and to give them their proper rights, Binobala added.
The deputy director also urged the NGOs which are running service for children homes to be registered under the Juvenile Justice Act.
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