Children of God

The government is preparing to introduce a ‘child welfare policy’ within three months. According to the Central Child Welfare Committee, the proposed policy will seek the protection and promotion of children’s right to live and grow up in a healthy family environment. It focuses on three primary areas concerning child welfare — promoting healthy home surroundings, resettlement of orphans and prevention of mental and physical abuse of children. Child welfare has been a neglected sector in Nepal. The majority of the Nepali children have long been deprived of their legitimate rights. Many of them are subjected to child labour, flesh trade, and other abuses. If the government seriously implemented what it promises now, it could make a significant difference in the lives of tens of thousands of children in the country, especially those in the rural areas.

In this regard, the Act Relating to Children, 2064, is also of special importance. For instance, it deals with the criteria for admitting children into the orphanages operating in the country. According to it, only those parents who are physically, mentally or financially incapable of raising their children can legally send them to children’s homes. The Act Relating to Children, 2048, was not specific in this regard. Consequently, many parents flocked to the centres to admit their children without proper medical certificates or financial documents. The law was misused and many people exploited children for their personal benefits. The effectiveness of the new policy will depend on how far the abuses committed in the past and likely to be committed in the future are checked.