In the wake of the recent cases of sexual abuse of children in shelter homes, the Women and Child Development Ministry has directed all the state governments to submit inspection reports of every child care institutions by September 15, a senior official has said.
WCD Ministry Secretary Rakesh Srivastava asked the chief secretaries of all states to give directions for inspections of all CCIs as prescribed under section 54 of the Juvenile Justice Act immediately.
"The inspection to be conducted under the supervision of the district magistrate being the officer in-charge of law and order in the district," Srivastava said in a letter to chief secretaries across the country.
He also said that necessary measures to support and rehabilitate children should be taken immediately, in case they are found distressed due to any "unbecoming and improper activity" of the institutions.
"Strict action as per law may also be initiated against the perpetrators of abuse," he added.
The secretary said the report must be submitted to the ministry latest by September 15.
Srivastava has said the ministry wants a complete inspection of all child care institution by the collectors concerned.
The questions for inspection is as per the one designed under the Juvenile Justice Act which among other factors, also take into account implementation of track the missing child programme, formation of children's committee and frequency of their meetings and nutrition plan of the children in these institutions.
There are 8,631 child care institutions across the country and 2,61,566 children are living at these centres.
The CCIs include children home, observation home, special home, place of safety, specialised adoption agency and open shelter. 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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