1.8 L children living in child care institutions as parents unfit to take care: Report

New Delhi, Jan 21 (PTI) A total of 1.8 lakh children are residing in child care institutions (CCI) in 2016-17 as their parents have been found unfit to take care of them, with over 50,000 such minors alone from Tamil Nadu institutions, according to a new report released Monday.Over 3.7 lakh children are lodged in homes meant for care of children in vulnerable circumstances across the country in 2016-17. According to the report released by the Jena Committee on Child Care Institutions, the Juvenile Justice Act states that a child, whose parents or guardian are found to be unfit or incapacitated by the committee or the board to care for and protect their safety and well-being, is deemed to be in need of care and protection. "It was found that there are 5,291 children in the age group of 0-6 years and 1,78,885 in the age group of 7-18 years found in CCIs and homes in this category, with boys being 17.2 per cent more than the girls. Amongst these, the CCIs in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have maximum number of such children," the report noted.A total of 1.8 lakh children are residing in child care institutions as their parents or guardian have been found incapable of taking care of them, it said.Of 3.7 lakh children in need of care and protection, 5,900 children in the age group of 0-6 years were orphans, abandoned and surrendered. There were 50,267 orphan, abandoned and surrendered children aged 7-18.The highest percentage of abandonment for both boys and girls was found in Madhya Pradesh, which also sees a high occupancy of child marriage victims, the report said.The report also gave a set of recommendations that included establishment of adequate number of CCIs on mapping of child vulnerability and situational analysis of each district and rationalisation of availability of CCIs as data has shown an imbalance in the number of CCIs.The other recommendations also included ease of accessibility to CCIs, a place of safety and a dedicated shelter home for de-addiction services and sensitisation of all staff -- from guards and cooks to persons-in-charge -- also must be a norm. The different categories of children residing in the CCIs included children who are orphan, abandoned, surrendered, sexually abused, victim of child pornography, trafficked for domestic work, trafficked for labour, trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, victims of child marriage among others. In all the 9,589 CCIs covered under the study, it has been found that there are 7,422 children in conflict with law, including 5,617 boys, while 1,805 girls. The number of children in need of care and protection have been found to be 3,70,227 of which 1,99,760 are boys, 1,70,375 are girls and 92 are transgender children.A database has emerged regarding orphan, abandoned, surrendered children who need to be de-institutionalised and prioritised for non-institutional care such as foster care, sponsorship and adoption. "Amongst these there are 5,931 children below the age of 0-6 years (2,966 orphans, 1,763 abandoned and 1,209 surrendered) who can be connected with the adoption process. Besides, these there are 50,267 orphan, abandoned and surrendered children in the age-group of 7-18 years," it said.Of these 38,765 are orphans, of which Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra alone have 10,745 (27.7 per cent).Tamil Nadu also has the highest number of abandoned children in this age-group, which is 1,326, residing in CCIs. The data has been collected from some 9,600 child care institutions and homes between January 2016 and March 2017. PTI UZM KJ