In a bid to improve the quality of care and management of the 29 children's homes across the state, the government has appointed a coordination committee for child protection as per the high court directions.
This move comes after the alleged case of the children being exploited at the Kavdas children's home near Shahapur.
It was found that two children had died in the orphanage within two months and two orphan girls allegedly raped.
After this incident, the high court had directed the state government to set up a committee that would work as a watchdog and examine the ground realities and working of these homes.
As per a government resolution (GR) issued by the women and child development department on November 29, the committee will prepare an action plan to develop new systems and improve existing ones.
To be headed by a professor for law, Asha Bajpai, the seven-member committee will include a mental health expert, a social worker and a non-governmental organisation head among others.
The committee will help the government develop systems, processes and protocols for the protection of the children in these institutions.
It will also “facilitate linkages to address certain crisis situations” such as the ones faced a Kavdas can be handled, the GR says.
The panel will also make surprise visits to the children's homes and advise and suggest changes in their functioning. This will be done in a phase-wise manner.
The state will also make public the names and telephone numbers of the members to ensure that there is transparency in the working of the committee, and they can be approached directly.
The committee, the government resolution says, will work over and above the existing state advisory board for the women and child development department, which mostly deals with the overhaul of the broad policy guidelines and not with what happens in reality.