Quick action and coordination between multiple agencies is the key to trace the family of a lost child, say police officers and members of Childline, an NGO working for child rights.
According to the Juvenile Aid and Protection Unit (JAPU), officers in Mumbai had traced 191 children below the age of 10 years till October 31. Out of these, JAPU officers, with the help of local NGOs, have traced parents of 57children.
In 2009, JAPU found and rescued 257 children out of which 89 were reunited with their families.
In most cases the children found give basic details like their name, age, father’s name, address, etc. However, nearly 5% of them are too young to talk or do not remember their addresses.
]“In such cases, it becomes difficult to reunite them with their families. We then seek the help of NGOs and hand these children to them,” said V Bhosle, sub-inspector, JAPU.
The NGO members then get in touch with police stations cross the country and send the child’s photograph to find out if a missing persons complaint has been registered.
“Also, many times the child may only speak in his mother tongue. In such cases, we find a person to communicate with the child and get maximum information,” said Kalvin Symonds, a member of Childline Foundation.
Symonds said communicating with a child who may be differently-abled or may be hearing or speech impaired is the most difficult.
Every child who is rescued or traced has to be presented before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and is then taken to a children’s home.
The onus of finding the child’s family then falls on the NGO. Once the parents are traced, the CWC orders two JAPU officers to take the child home. On leaving the children’s home, the child is given Rs 45 on a per day basis till he reaches home.