Pune’s observation homes for children get counselling via videoconferencing in Covid times
The lockdown has brought about major changes in the prison as well as correctional home systems all over the country.Updated: May 25, 2020 16:22 IST
PUNE The observation and special homes for children in conflict with law (CCL) and children in need of care and protection (CNCP) have found solace in video conferencing and art since school and regular interaction sessions have come to a standstill during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) lockdown.
While children in the special homes are juvenile convicts, the ones in the observation home are juvenile undertrials. According to Section 1 (14) of Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act 2015, children in need of care and protection are homeless, abused, destitute and missing children.
The lockdown brought about major changes in the prison as well as correctional home systems all over the country. In an effort to prevent the spread of the virus within the prison and correctional facilities, a state-level high-powered committee had recommended directions for decongestion.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Udyog Kendra observation and special home for boys in Yerawada had around 40 children. However, after decongestion, the observation home now has five while the special home has seven children, including two adults, in the facility.
“These five are here because of unavoidable reasons. We could have sent them all home but one is from Delhi, two are orphans and one has only one parent who is also in prison,” said GN Padghan, probation officer of the Yerawada facility.
Another facility called the Government Observation, Special and Children’s Home for Girls houses seven girls at its campus in Mundhwa. While most inmates in the boys’ facility are juvenile delinquents, the girls’ facility is currently home to six children in need of care and protection and one juvenile delinquent.
Counselling, which forms an important part of the rehabilitation for these children is now being done through video conference.
“Earlier, when the strength was more, there used to be constant scuffles. With less children, the disturbances are also less. Whenever required, if a child seems like he needs it, counsellors are called through video conferencing,” said Padghan.
“They have access to one computer with Internet. Painting and sculptures are made daily. Since the school sessions stopped, the girls have made more than 100 pieces of art,” said Vaishali Navale Tribhuvan, uperintendent at the Girls Observation, Special, and Children’s Home, Mundhwa.
Tribhuvan said the girls are very sharp and creative. “Counselling through video conferencing is a part of their routine life now. Various officials conduct counselling sessions,” she said.
Along with counselling, the boys also receive online sessions on subjects like stress management, self-respect and gratitude, and importance of mental health.
“We hold casual chats with them along with sessions. We call resource persons like art-based therapists and psychologist to speak with the children,” said Zaid Sayyed, social worker with the Resource Cell for Juvenile Justice (RCJJ), a field action project by the Centre for Criminology and Justice of the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS).
The project is operational in facilities in Mumbai, Pune, Yavatmal, and Amravati.
“Earlier we had continuous classes and one movie per week. Now we select and show movies almost every day so that their afternoons are spent in a constructive way. In the evening we let them play in the open ground. Some take active interest in helping in the kitchen; some are involved in the in-house organic garden, and some in the carpenter workshop,” said Padghan.