Jharkhand will be building a shelter home for orphans above 18 years to fulfil a provision in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act- 2015.
Named Place of Stay, the shelter will be meant for orphans who can no longer be accommodated in regular government shelters where children below 18 are accommodated and also for those who facing cases in a court of law.
“In Jharkhand, there are around 72 shelter homes for children, including 10 for children in conflict with the law where children up to 18 years stay. These shelter homes are run by the government as well as authorised NGOs. Currently, 3,223 children are living there. Now, we have planned to build a shelter home for persons above 18 years,” minister of women, child development and social security Louise Marandi told the media on Monday at Suchana Bhavan where she also highlighted the achievements and priorities of her department.
Special secretary D.K. Saxena, who was also present at the media interaction, explained that shelter homes were meant for children who were either orphaned or separated from their parents and family due to legal complications or circumstances beyond their control.
Shelter homes, he added, were also meant for children who had committed a crime.
“These are children who are in conflict with law. Such children, till they are 18, are kept at shelter homes. But technically once they attain adulthood they can’t be accommodated at shelter homes. Yet, we cannot leave such children unattended till their cases are disposed of,” he said, adding that Place of Safety was an institutional mechanism within the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act-2015.
“There is a provision in the act to set up a proper shelter home for adolescents. A proposal has been finalised and we are looking for a suitable location to construct a building,” Saxena said. Teenagers above 18, he added, would be accommodated at the Place of Stay till they are 21.
The women and child department suffered a crisis of credibility in July last year when a Ranchi shelter, Nirmal Hriday, managed by the Missionaries of Charity, was embroiled in a baby sale racket that had apparently been going on for long.
The racket, busted after a childless couple who paid for a baby, was later asked to return the child. The incident revealed that the department did not have any mechanism of monitoring the activities of the shelters.
Marandi said her department subsequently cancelled registration of 14 NGOs after finding out that they were running shelters without proper facilities in violation of rules.
“Besides rescue and rehabilitation of minors subjected to child labour and trafficking, we have set up integrated rehabilitation and resource centres in Delhi and in Ranchi. To provide temporary shelter to rescued girls and women we have also set up one-stop centres in every district. Earlier, we had one-stop centres in Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad,” she said.
The minister said that for empowerment of girls, aged between 14 and 24, the state government had launched a Rs 540 crore scheme called Tejashwini Yojana. The World Bank would provide 70 per cent of the funds. The remaining would be mobilised by the women and child department.
“We launched this programme in Dumka and Ramgarh district. It will be extended to other districts. As many as 50,000 girls have been chosen and we will ensure they are get education till class 10. They will also be given training so that they are employable,” the minister said.
The department, she added, planned to target seven lakh girls. “We have formed Tejashwini clubs where girls and women are taught about their rights and duties, besides creating awareness about education,” she said.