At a meeting of the Consultative Committee of Parliament attached to the WCD Ministry, she briefed the members about the status of child care institutions (CCIs) and shelter homes in the country.
Gandhi said under an audit conducted by the National Commission for protection of Child Rights on the direction of the Supreme Court, about 3,000 child care institutions have been covered till now and more than 40 shelter homes have been closed down for not adhering to norms.
She also proposed setting up of a single large facility for housing children, who are presently living in child care centres, in every state.
"The land is provided by the state governments, the WCD Ministry will provide funds from Nirbhaya fund and other sources. The government will be able to run well designed programmes of training, trade, education in these homes along with providing protection with the help of close supervision since it will be run by the government itself," she said.
She urged the members to inspect the CCIs in their constituencies and interact closely with the district magistrates to ensure proper supervision and monitoring of these institutions.
The CCIs include children homes, observation homes, special homes, place of safety, specialised adoption agency and open shelters. Those who are sent to CCIs include children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law.
The issue of sexual abuse of minor girls first made headlines in April after the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) submitted its audit report of shelter homes in Bihar to the state social welfare department. It raised the possibility of sexual abuse of girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur in Bihar, which was later confirmed by their medical examination.
The second case came to light this week in which 24 girls were rescued from one of these homes in Deoria in Uttar Pradesh amid allegations of their sexual exploitation.
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