NEW DELHI: About 2,000 Child Care Institutions (CCIs) across the country have not registered themselves with the government despite repeated calls by the women and child development ministry, a senior official has said, warning they may face closure if the non-compliance continued.
Taking cognisance of recent cases of alleged illegal adoptions carried out by missionaries in Jharkhand, Union minister Maneka Gandhi last month directed state governments to ensure that all CCIs get registered and linked to the country’s apex adoption body, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), within a month.
The mandatory registration of CCIs and linking to the CARA has been provided in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which came into force more than two years ago, but some orphanages had challenged the validity of this clause, a women and child development ministry official said.
The ministry renewed the call for registration after it was found that 24 girls were allegedly sexually exploited at an unregistered child care institution at Deoria in Uttar Pradesh.
The CCIs include children homes, observation homes, special homes, place of safety, specialised adoption agency and open shelters.
In the aftermath of the alleged sexual assault of minor girls in Deoria, Gandhi had proposed building one single large central facility to house such children in a bid to prevent “abuse and misuse” by NGOs.
She had said the adoption and skill development programmes in a central facility would be much easier to carry out and it would also help in checking “abuse and misuse” by NGOs who are running their own shelter homes with grants from the government.
Other homes in the state should only provide temporary shelter to women, girls and children in distress situations and after clearance by the child welfare committee, Gandhi had said.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had said all child care centres in the country should register with the JJ Act by the end of last year.
The official said while 7,700 CCIs have registered themselves under the JJ Act, about 2,000 child care institutions have not registered even after repeated calls.
“Many unregistered child care institutions are in the process of getting registered and are filing the paperwork. The ones which would not obey the direction and register would be shut down,” he said.
More than 40 child care institutions across the country have been shut for not adhering to norms of the women and child development ministry, he said.
Further, for speedy execution, the official said, the state governments and union territories have been asked to publish the direction of mandatory registration in local newspapers to ensure compliance by the institutions within the stipulated period.
According to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, there are 2,32,937 children in all the CCIs — the registered and the unregistered ones — in the country.