Licence of child care home seized

Kathmandu, August 6

The National Child Rights Council, under the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens, seized the licence of Kapan-based Care Child Orphanage following the rescue of 11 children sheltering there yesterday.

Stating that the orphanage had violated the provisions in the existing law with regard to operation of a child care home, the NCRC has initiated the process for cancellation of its license. Pushpa Adhikari, owner of the orphanage, was dragged into controversy after she spread a rumour of ‘rescue of an infant abandoned by her parents’ in Kapan last week with an intention to grab media attention and accumulate donations from various persons and organisations.

Later, it was found that she had staged a drama of infant rescue. The infant was handed over to the orphanage by a woman, who had recently arrived home from Qatar.

The NCRC said Adhikari had misused the baby in her custody to serve her private interest against the provisions in the Children’s Act.

Police and NCRC have launched separate investigations into the case. The act stipulates a provision of keeping an abandoned or lost child in welfare homes until s/he is reunited with family.

According to the NCRC, the children aged between 6-12 years, who were rescued from the orphanage, have been kept in its temporary shelter. “Only three children are found to be orphans while others have their parents.

We are trying to reach out to the concerned parents to reunite the children with them. However, those, who don’t have parents, will be taken care of by the government,” said the NCRC. The orphanage operated by Adhikari also does not meet the prescribed standards.

The NCRC inspects and monitors child care homes and rescues children from those facilities that are not in compliance with the existing law. It also makes recommendations for reform or closure of such child care homes.

The NRCC has started using a special software to maintain and update data of children living in child care homes. Information about daily activities and functioning of child care homes are also fed to the software. The government has implemented Standards for Operation and Management of Residential Child Care Homes-2012. It covers several areas such as the process of admission of children, residential facilities, infrastructure, child protection and minimum condition to operate residential child care homes.

As many as 46 districts have 533 child care homes.

According to the annual report of 2019, a total of 880 children, including 249 girls, were rescued from 64 child care homes in 2018- 2019, after they were found to be operating without meeting minimum standards. The authorities scrapped the operating licences of such child care homes and took action against concerned operators as per the law.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 7, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.