Print Edition - 2014-09-16  |  Development

Monitoring child home centres our top priority

  • Interview Tarak Dhital
Monitoring child home centres our top priority

Sep 15, 2014-

Even as the government marked the National Children Day across the country with much fanfare, reports suggest thousands of children are still engaged in risky activities with hundreds compelled to live as street urchins. In this context, Binod Ghimire caught up with Tarak Dhital, executive director at Central Child Welfare Board under the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare to talk about the situation of children in the country. Excerpts:

How do you assess the status of child labour in the country?

Child labour is directly related to the socio-economic and political situation of the country. Where there is labour there is child labour. Child labour is prevalent in around 70 different sectors. The number is high in the informal sector such as brick kiln, hotels and domestic work. There have been efforts to create conducive environment in schools to retain the students and to raise awareness that the child labour is illegal. Similarly, many children have been rescued from the harsh labour condition and numbers of people have been booked for compelling children into labour. There are District Child Welfare Boards (DCWB) in place which are working closely with various organisations in running various programmes to stop child labour.

Do you think it is enough to tackle the present situation?

No definitely not. I agree these efforts are not adequate. There is a lot to be done. Firstly, the government is not paying enough attention and allocating resources. Adding to the woes are factors such as poor participation of local bodies and lack of child-friendly environment in schools. The sector has, however, witnessed some positive changes, with improvement in the condition of the children. The process might have been delayed but not derailed. We need to adopt an integrated approach from all stakeholders for a maximum output.

The CCWB is often blamed for its involvement in petty donor-funded programmes rather than accomplishing its duties properly. What is your take on this?

No agency can function without proper resources. The government has been very reluctant in funding and allocating resourses. The DCWB hardly gets Rs 60,000 annually. You can imagine what can be done with that scanty amount. So there is no alternative to partnering with donor bodies. Even the District Child Right has to be paid with the support from non-government bodies. The performance of an organisation is directly related to the investment and allocation of resources.

There are reports that many child home centres are operating without proper infrastructure, leaving the children under their care in miserable state. What is the CCWB doing in this regard?

Monitoring child home centres is our top priority. Each district has set a standard for the operation of such centres with deputy Chief District Officers leading monitoring committees. There are around 594 centres in 46 districts and we have completed the preliminary monitoring there. We have even rescued the children at risk and rehabilitated them in safe shelters. Some of the centres have been shut down after they were found to be running illegally or defying the set standard.

The CCWB had announced to bring a programme to rehabilitate the street children. When will it be materialised?

Rehabilitating the street children is a complex process which cannot be done overnight. It includes counseling, ensuring health care, access to education, reducing drug addiction, providing psychological treatment and finally reintegration. Firstly, we should set up drop centres, make the children habituated to the new environment and screen their problems. Only after completing these crucial steps can we move further. Many organisations have been conducting rehabilitation programmes but most of them are on ad hoc basis and as such not that fruitful. We are preparing a detailed plan for the rehabilitation and integration taking into account these aspects. It will be finalised shortly for effective implemention.

Published: 16-09-2014 09:16

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