Some child care homes are still found to be operating without compliance with existing legal provisions introduced for their establishment and operation.

The country has a total of 489 child care homes. Majority of them are concentrated in Kathmandu valley. According to the annual report-2020-21 of National Child Rights Council under the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens, it carried out onsite monitoring of 163 child care homes in 17 local levels of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Chitwan and Tanahun where 3,382 children including 1,781 children were living in.

The NCRC said eight of 163 child care homes were found operating without compliance with the requirements specified by the laws and standards during the monitoring. "NCRC rescued 73 children, including 38 girls, from the erring child care homes before sealing them for further action," read the report. Of them, six child care homes are based in Kathmandu, and two in Chitwan.

The NCRC is the regulatory body which inspects and monitors child care homes, and rescues children from the facilities which are not in compliance with the existing laws and standards. The NCRC also makes recommendations for reforms or closures of these child care homes as required. The operators of child care homes flouting the laws are also liable to legal action under the Children's Act.

The government has enforced Standards for Operation and Management of Residential Child Care Homes which cover 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, 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.

Many such facilities were found to have no proper documentation of rescue, admission process and rehabilitation, and reintegration process of children.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 12, 2022, of The Himalayan Times