After horror tales, Bihar child care homes focus on making girls self-reliant
Away from the horror tales of Muzaffarpur children’s home, which led to a nationwide outrage soon after the findings of the social audit by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) reached the public domain in 2018 and resulted in CBI probe, Bihar’s social welfare department has now embarked on an ambitious scheme to make the girl inmates self-reliant once they turn 18.
It plans to send 30 more girls for hotel management course to Bangalore and other places. Fourteen girls drawn from different child care institutions in Begusarai, Gaya, Madhubani, Patna, Motihari and Purnea were sent for the course to Bangalore in joint collaboration with Empowerment of Children and Human Rights Organisation (ECHO) - Centre for Juvenile Justice on December 29.
Director, directorate of social welfare, department of social welfare, Raj Kumar, said the 14 girls were sent on a pilot basis, but now the need to do more has been felt for the girls and a detailed scheme has been worked out.
“The girls will also be trained for other employment-oriented skill sets and also encouraged to start their own ventures in groups. We are also in talks with banks to provide loans to self-help groups of girls. Earlier, they got training in stitching and beautician course, but due to lack of back up, they could not become self-reliant. The emphasis now is to help them become self-reliant,” he said, adding that the hotel management institute would also help them get job placement in the hospitality industry.
As per the guidelines of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), for the aftercare of children completing 18 years, a monthly assistance of Rs 2,000 each is provided so as to help them in settling after exiting from the CCIs.
“But that is not enough. The department’s initiative for alternative care of children outside the institutions is in keeping with the TISS recommendations,” said the director, adding that the girls sent to Bangalore would also keep getting Rs 2,000 each.
Stung by the findings of the TISS social audit, which earned the entire state a bad name across the globe and the CBI investigation into it is still on, the department of social welfare has taken a range of steps to improve the quality of care being provided across child care institutions (CCIs).
“The audit was an eye-opener for the department also and it immediately got down to a massive exercise to improve the system, viz. revision of entire inspection and monitoring system of CCIs by the state as well as the district administration, zero tolerance to any incident of abuse of children inside CCIs and development of better infrastructure and child-friendly environment etc. Exposure visits of caregivers of CCIs to Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Indore and Tripura were also undertaken to learn best practices,” said the official, adding that adequate funds have also been given to care homes.