It has been set up for the children’s welfare but itself needs a shot in the arm.
The Child Welfare Committee (CWC), an integral part of children’s remand homes in the state, is reeling under severe infrastructural problems.
The city has two juvenile remand homes at Dongri and Mankhurd.
There are 33 others across the state.
Staff shortage is a major problem faced by the children’s welfare homes.
The child welfare body helps rehabilitate children who have either run away from home or lost and juvenile delinquents who cannot be kept in jail.
With an increase in juvenile crimes, the number of children in remand homes has increased. But the staff and basic amenities for the homes have not increased.
Hindustan Times visited the Dongri remand home, the largest in the state, and saw broken chairs in the Juvenile Justice Board’s room.
The board, an informal court headed by judges, hears cases relating to juvenile crimes and refers the matter to the CWC. Shaila Mhatre, chairperson of the Dongri home, said the government’s aid is not sufficient.
“The home is already overcrowded. But we cannot turn back the children,” said Mhatre.
There were 2,278 children at the home as on March 31, said Mhatre.
Advocate Pratibha Menon, who regularly practices at the justice board, said the condition of the Dongri home was better than the Mankhurd one. “They even have to carry stationery, pen and paper along with them,” said Menon.
The homes do not have a telephone, not to talk about fax or a computer.
The homes mainly function with help from volunteers from NGOs.
The poor infrastructure at the CWC came to light when the Bombay High Court was hearing petitions filed by parents of two girls seeking their custody.
Justice Abhay Oka had directed public prosecutor Satish Borulkar and additional public prosecutor Hitendra Dedhia to “make necessary statement in decision taken by state for providing necessary infrastructural facilities to CWC”.
The government has to inform the court later this month what it plans to do to provide infrastructure to CWC.