Kathmandu, May 25
As many as 880 children, including 249 girls, were rescued from 64 child care homes operating in various districts, without meeting minimum standards prescribed by the existing law.
Most of these child care homes are running in Kathmandu valley. According to statistics released by the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens, the government rescued 880 children and scrapped the operating licence of 64 child care homes.
Most of the children rescued from illegal child care homes were from Humla, Mugu, Nuwakot, Dolpa, Surkhet, Rasuwa, Jajarkot, Dang, Parsa, Dolakha, Dhading and Kalikot districts.
“The rescued children were either reunited with their families or rehabilitated as per the law,” the ministry said.
During the fiscal 2017-18 alone, 183 children were rescued from four child care homes in Kathmandu valley. The ministry informed that as many as 533 child care homes with at least 14,800 children are in operation in 46 districts.
The Central Child Welfare Board inspects and monitors child care homes, and rescues children from the facilities which are not in compliance with the existing law. The board also makes recommendations for reforms or closures of these child care homes if required. The operators of illegal child care homes are also liable to legal action under the Children’s Act.
The government enforced Standards for Operation and Management of Residential Child Care Homes-2012, covers areas such as process of admission of children, residential facilities, infrastructure, context and realisation of basic rights of children, child protection, and minimum conditions for operation of residential child care homes.
As per the standards, a child care home should have adequate space and rooms for eating, sleeping and study, along with security arrangements, necessary textbooks and educational materials, child-friendly environment free of physical and mental problem of any kind, provision for action against the guilty immediately in case of violence against children and molestation, special arrangements for differently-abled children and disabled-friendly facilities and separate study rooms, bathrooms and toilets for boys and girls.
According to CCWB, some children in the child care homes have been found admitted with insufficient or fake documents.
Many such facilities were found to have no proper documentation of rescue, admission process and rehabilitation, and reintegration process of children.
Child care home operators also lack sufficient knowledge of child rights and other existing laws. It is also reported that some children are sexually abused.
In 2014, four cases were registered against child care homes for sexual exploitation of girls, and perpetrators were slapped a jail term. Two complaints of paedophilia were also filed against international volunteers.
Poverty of parents is seen as one of the aggravating factors for separation of children from their families, though it is not the sole reason.
A version of this article appears in print on May 26, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.