In what could be welcome news for couples wishing to adopt a child, the state proposes that children of abusive parents living in remand homes be put up for adoption.
Women and Child Minister Varsha Gaikwad, speaking to Sunday MiD DAY, said, “If an abused child is brought to the shelter and our counsellors find that the child is scared to return to his/ her biological parents, the Child Welfare Committee will take care of the child. We are proposing that such children be put up for adoption and want necessary amendments to the existing Juvenile Justice Act.”
Dr Shaila Mhatre, Chairman Child Welfare Committee, Mumbai City, said, “The Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, 2000 covered ‘neglected’ and ‘abused’ children, but this was removed in the amendment in 2006. Adoption of an abused child would require another amendment, but it would be worth considering it.” Gaikwad says they will write to the Central Government and request them to make the necessary changes.
Mhatre said they currently have three children under their protection in the age group of one and three years, who had been subjected to abuse by their parents. In the first case, a woman in a drunken condition was caught red-handed when she banged her one year-old child’s head on a roadside wall. Luckily, a police team rescued the child. In another case, a woman threw her two children from the skywalk at Girgaum and in the third case a girl child was severely beaten and burnt by her own parents. “She has been rescued and kept in our protection and care,” said Mhatre. She concluded that cases of child abuse are on the rise.
Nitish Kumar, head communications and strategic initiatives, Childline India Foundation, believes that adoption isn’t the answer. “Abused children cannot simply be taken away from their parents/ natural guardians. The current view on this is that institutional care is the last resort. The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) scoped out a foster care programme in 2009. However, it did not take off. ICPS requires state implementation and that’s where the issue lies. It has never been energised by either the states or the Union government.”
There are no laws that allow the implementation of child rights inside their homes. Kumar added, “The police and judicial infrastructure is inadequate for the implementation. In fact, most schools in India have no clear cut Child Protection Policy.”