Nearly 400 posts in Delhi’s juvenile homes vacantFebruary 16th, 2008 - 5:27 pm ICT by admin
By Azera Rahman
New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) Despite an urgent need for more staff in the juvenile homes across the capital, nearly 400 posts have been lying vacant for the past three to four years, says Jayshree Raghuraman, secretary of the women and child development ministry’s social welfare department. She admitted that proper care was not being administered in the homes run by the social welfare department because of a high number of children and inadequate staff.
“There have been 300 to 400 vacancies since the past three to four years. The recruitment is through the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board, in which the candidate has to sit for an exam and then go through a interview round,” Raghuraman said.
“Also, the person has to be trained in handling children at the rehabilitation centres and juvenile homes. All of this has been taking a lot of time,” Raghuraman told IANS Saturday on the sidelines of the national consultative meeting called by the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
“We have now suggested that the recruitment process should probably be decentralised and done directly by us,” she added.
Although the statistics by the department give the impression that things are well under control, the reality as stated by some children who have lived in these homes tell a different story.
For juveniles in conflict with the law and those in need of care and protection, there are a total of 24 juvenile homes with a capacity to house 2,051 children.
“The condition at the juvenile homes is very bad,” said 15-year-old Vijay, who is living in a rehabilitation centre called Aman Biradari. He has run away from there several times but is forced to return since he can find no other shelter.
“Nearly 30-35 children, of all ages, are packed inside a small room. If the cleaning is not done properly, everyone is beaten up. In fact they are beaten up at the drop of a hat. That’s why children call it a jail,” he said.
Raghuraman said most of the staff at these centres is not trained to handle children.
“Most of the members of the staff, who have been hired years ago, are not trained to handle children. That is why we are now careful in hiring only competent people.
“Also, the fact there are as many as 5,000 cases pending with the Juvenile Justice Board means more and more children are coming in and not going out, thus putting pressure on the staff,” she said.
Shantha Sinha, chairperson of NCPCR, said that it was time the government realised that it had to be part of the solution and not the problem.
“There has to be a social outrage against the present situation of children in these homes. But the government shouldn’t wait for that. Instead of being the source of problem, which we can see in all the juvenile homes and in the large number of vacancies, it should confront the problem and offer a solution,” Sinha told IANS.