New Delhi: After the Supreme Court order in April, nearly 64% of children in child care institutions across the country have been restored to their families and nearly 60% of children in conflict with the law have been released to their parents. From the States and Union Territories with the Supreme Court in July.
According to UNICEF, out of 2,27,518 children living in child care institutions, 1,45,788 children have been restored to their families by April. Of the 8614 children in conflict with law enforcement in observation homes, 5155 children were sent back to their parents.
Taking the suo motu cognizance of the issue of child protection under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, from the spread of the coronavirus, the SC issued extensive directions to various authorities in April. This included directions to child welfare committees to ensure that the child should be placed in CCI considering his or her best interests, health and safety concerns.
Child protection is a major concern in CCIs following the Kovid-19 pandemic. According to reports, at least 132 children have been infected by CCIs around the country. An analysis of data shared by the 32 states and UTs with the SC in July found that before the lockdown there were 1,20,169 juveniles and 1,05,516 girls in CCIs, and 79148 juveniles and 66555 girls enrolled in child care institutions were restored to their parents. Of the children, 3339 boys and 2235 girls were restored to relatives or foster families. The children who were placed in special adoption agencies before the lockdown included 1846 boys and 2463 girls. Since the lockdown began, 629 boys and 825 girls have been placed in SAAs. The states reported that 45289 juveniles and 43724 children sent home were contacted to follow up. The data were shared by the states as part of a detailed questionnaire prepared by the Supreme Court, which aims to monitor the situation of children in institutions and on the need for care and protection.
As part of ongoing efforts, the Supreme Court Juvenile Justice Committee, in collaboration with UNICEF, focused on the various states’ actions to protect children during the two-day consultation epidemic and follow-up on November 28-29. And supervision of restored children to their families. Supreme Court Judge S Ravindra Bhat, who is also the chairman of the Supreme Court Juvenile Justice Committee, called for child protection services to be declared as essential services. He stressed the need to address the root causes of child family separation.
During the consultation, Ram Manohar Mishra, secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, asked the states to formulate detailed district action plans. In his address, UNICEF India’s Head of Child Protection, Soledad Herrero said, “What started as a health epidemic has evolved into a full-blown socio-economic and human rights crisis, with children being its biggest victims.

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