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TNPSC GROUP 1 CHALLENGE-SOCIAL DEFENCE 2018-19


SOCIAL DEFENCE

The Government of Tamil Nadu has always been on the forefront in development and implementation of welfare schemes for women and children in the country. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 aims to provide a system that ensures the care and protection of children by catering to their basic needs, development, treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration by adopting child friendly approach. The Government of Tamil Nadu is implementing the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 with commitment so as to provide the best possible opportunities for the growth and development of every child in the society. The State of Tamil Nadu is pioneer in developing a child protection mechanism by establishing approved schools way back in 1887 for addressing the needs of children in difficult circumstances and subsequently, enacting the Madras Children Act, 1920 for the care and protection of children and the management of residential child care institutions.

The Department of Social Defence is implementing the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 by establishing and maintaining an effective system comprising of all statutory bodies, institutions and services as envisaged under the Act. Child Care Institutions such as Children Homes/Reception Units are managed by the Government as well as Non-Governmental Organisations. The Observation Homes, Special Homes and After Care Homes are exclusively run by the Government. The Department ensures protection of child rights and standards of care in the Child Care Institutions by continuously monitoring and evaluating their functioning. The Department is also successfully implementing the “Child Protection Services” (CPS) under the Umbrella of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) by creating adequate service delivery structures at the District and State Level. This has significantly contributed to the convergence of services for children and creating a system that will efficiently and effectively protect children. The Department is also concerned with the welfare of girls / women rescued under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. The Department is maintaining Vigilance Homes / Protective Homes in pursuance of the Act for providing care and rehabilitation measures for the victim girls/women.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is based on the principle of promoting, protecting and safeguarding the rights of children up to the age of 18 years. The Juvenile Justice Act broadly classify children into two different categories viz. (i) children in need of care and protection and (ii) children in conflict with law and facilitate the process of providing care, protection, rehabilitation and social reintegration.

Children in need of Care and Protection

Children in need of care and protection are defined as a child who does not have a home or shelter and no means to obtain such an abode. A child who does not have a parent or guardian or any other relatives to take care of him/her, street children, working children, abused, tortured, exploited and any one found vulnerable and victim of natural calamities are also the children in need of care and protection.

Child Welfare Committees

In accordance with the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, the Government has constituted Child Welfare Committees in all the 32 Districts for exercising the powers and to discharge their duties conferred on them in relation to children in need of care and protection under the Act and Rules. The Committees are functioning as a Bench with the powers of Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate of First Class as per the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Each Child Welfare Committee consists of a chairperson and four members (including one woman member). They conduct the proceedings in a child-friendly manner in the best interest of children. A sum of `484.54 lakh has been provided in the Budget Estimate 2018-2019.

Children Homes for Boys and Girls

Children Homes are functioning under the Commissionerate of Social Defence. At present, 36 Children Homes are directly run by Government and 152 Homes are functioning under Non-Governmental Organisations with financial assistance from the Government including 5 Homes for physically and mentally challenged children. The maintenance grant per child per month has been increased from `2,000 to `2,160 to the Non-Governmental Organisations as per the Child Protection Services norms. There are 1,113 children homes run by Non-Governmental Organisations with their own resources and registered under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. Children homes provide food, clothing, shelter, medical assistance, education, vocational training, etc., in order to ensure the overall growth and development of children. In total, there are 69,850 children in all the children homes.

A sum of `10,726 lakh has been provided in the Budget Estimate 2018-2019.

Open Shelters for children in need of care and protection in Urban and Semi Urban Areas

Open Shelter for Urban and Semi urban areas will cater to all children in need of care and protection like beggars, street and working children, rag pickers, orphaned, deserted and trafficked children, particularly those without home and family ties, vulnerable to abuse and exploitation especially children of sex workers and children of pavement dwellers. These Open Shelters are not meant to provide permanent residential facilities for children but will complement the existing institutional care facilities for a short term period. At present, 12 Open Shelters (one each in Salem, Tirunelveli, Tiruchirappalli, Coimbatore and 8 in Chennai District) are functioning in Tamil Nadu. The maintenance grant of `2,160 per child per month is provided to Non-Governmental Organisations besides expenses towards rent, water, electricity, transportation and contingencies under Child Protection Services. During 2017-2018, 325 children have benefited under this scheme.

A sum of `265.15 lakh has been provided in Budget Estimate 2018-2019. Children in conflict with Law

The term ‘children in conflict with law' refers to any person not completed the age of 18 years and alleged or found to have committed an offence on the date of commission of such offence.

Juvenile Justice Boards

The Government of Tamil Nadu had constituted Juvenile Justice Boards in all the 32 Districts to take cognizance of cases in relation to children in conflict with law. The Juvenile Justice Boards are vested with powers to deal with children in conflict with law. The Juvenile Justice Board consists of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class with two Social Worker Members (including one woman member). Similar to Child Welfare Committee, the Board also conducts the proceedings in a child-friendly manner and not as judicial proceedings of Court. In 2016-2017, video conferencing facility in the Government Observation Home, Tirunelveli and in three Juvenile Justice Boards of Sivagangai, Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram Districts have been set up at a cost of `38.91 lakh to avoid frequent transportation of children from Government Observation Home, Tirunelveli to the Juvenile Justice Boards of the above said Districts and to ensure safety and security of the children. This facility has been extended in the year 2017-2018 in the Government Observation Home, Chennai and in five Juvenile Justice Boards of Kancheepuram, Thiruvallur, Tiruvannamalai, Vellore and Villupuram Districts at a cost of `49.72 lakh. A sum of `260.90 lakh has been provided in the Budget Estimate 2018-2019.

Observation Homes

Observation Homes are meant for the temporary reception of children in conflict with law during the pendency of any inquiry against him / her before the Juvenile Justice Boards. In Tamil Nadu, there are 9 Observation Homes directly functioning under the Government, of which Observation Home at Madurai is under construction. Children residing in the Observation Homes are provided with basic amenities like food, clothing, shelter, medical and non formal education besides counselling and guidance. To ensure the safety of children and for close monitoring, the Government had installed surveillance and security equipments to Observation Homes. The inmates of these homes are provided with counselling services through trained counsellors engaged exclusively at Observation Homes. Vocational training has also been provided to improve their skills. A sum of `482.44 lakh has been provided in the Budget Estimate 2018-2019.

Special Homes for Boys and Girls

The Government has established Special Homes for rehabilitation of children in conflict with law who are found to have committed an offence and ordered by Juvenile Justice Board for rehabilitation in such home. Children could stay in the special home for a maximum period of three years. There are two Government special homes, one at Chennai for girls and the other at Chengalpattu for boys. In special homes, the children are provided with education, vocational training, counselling and facilities for co-curricular activities to develop their skills for self reliance. The Government had provided surveillance and security equipments to Government special homes to ensure safety and security of children.

A sum of `236.23 lakh has been provided in the Budget Estimate 2018-2019. Resource Centres

Resource Centres provide psycho–social support, guidance for children in need of care and protection as well as children in conflict with law while their cases are handled by Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards respectively. These centres also attending to the psychological needs of children in the child care institutions as referred by the Superintendents of child care institutions and also their parents. There are 14 Resource Centers functioning under Non-Governmental Organisations with the financial assistance from Government.

A sum of `7.71 lakh has been provided in the Budget Estimate 2018-2019. Psychological Counselling for Children

The Psychological Counselling is immensely needed for the children especially those who have been admitted in observation homes. Children alleged to have committed an offence are admitted in observation homes by the orders of the Juvenile Justice Boards. Children not released on bail and admitted in the observation homes, children committed to special homes on being found guilty by the Juvenile Justice Boards exhibit aggressive and deviant behavior at times as a result of psychological and emotional problems including withdrawal of addiction in certain cases. In order to overcome the psychological trauma and to help them to adjust with the institutional environment, the Government have provided counselling services to the inmates of the observation homes and special homes through counsellors. The scheme provides for engaging psychological experts for counselling children for 180 days in a year on a honorarium basis of `1,000 per day for each counsellor. A sum of `21.60 lakh has been provided in the Budget Estimate 2018-2019.

Place of Safety

“Place of Safety” is meant to accommodate children between the age of 16 and 18 years and committed a heinous offence and those completed eighteen years of age but apprehended for an offence committed while he was under eighteen years of age. Hence, it is essential that the “Place of Safety” requires a comprehensive rehabilitation programme with enhanced security arrangements. Hence, the Government have sanctioned a sum of `42.00 lakh for repairs, renovation and additional infrastructures to convert the erstwhile Reception Unit building in Vellore as “Place of Safety”.

The Juvenile Justice Fund

The Government had created “The Tamil Nadu Juvenile Justice Fund” with a corpus of `25.00 lakh for undertaking welfare and rehabilitative activities for children as mandated under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The fund facilitates to implement activities which are of urgent need as well as programmes that are not covered under regular budget.

Suicide Prevention Programme for School Children

Suicide is a major mental health problem prevailing among students nowadays, for which preventive strategies are urgently needed. Hence, in order to address the psychological turbulence among children and their tendency towards committing suicide especially before and after examinations and results, the Department had organised Suicide Prevention Programmes in schools in all districts at a cost of `15.04 lakh. This programme is aimed to train 100 teachers in the schools in each District as a “Training of Trainers Programmes’ in collaboration with experts in mental health.

Exclusive De-addiction Centre for children

The Government has established a deaddiction centre through a Non-Governmental Organisation at Chengalpattu in Kancheepuram District exclusively for the children at a cost of `22.99 lakh during 2017-2018. The purpose for the establishment of the De-addiction Centre is to address the problem of addiction among children especially those in conflict with law. The Juvenile Justice Boards will refer the children to this centre for de-addiction. This scheme is fully funded by the State Government.



Construction of New Building for Annai Sathya Government Children Home, Salem

The Annai Sathya Government Children Home, Salem is now functioning in an old building in which additional infrastructure facilities could not be developed to fulfill day to day requirements of children. In order to provide all modern facilities in the Home for the children with happy zone, the Government in the year 2017-2018 has sanctioned for the construction of a new building at a total cost of `9.46 crore.

Construction of New Building for Government Observation Home for Girls, Chennai – 10

As per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, the children who are alleged to have committed an offence have to be segregated in terms of their age and gravity of offence while accommodating them in Observation Homes. Considering the same, the Government in the year 2017-2018 has sanctioned for the construction of new building with all basic amenities for the Government Observation Home for Girls, Chennai-10 for segregation and safety and security of children at a total cost of `4.40 crore.

Crafting the children as constructive citizens through Playback theatre in Child Care Institutions

The Government has allocated `30.00 lakh during 2017-2018 for crafting the children as constructive citizens through Playback theatre in Child Care Institutions. Sensitization Programme for all the Heads of Institutions, six Regional Workshops for staff and young facilitators of Child Care Institutions, 30 Dialogue Factory Workshops for children along with 2 staff per workshop have been completed.

Probation System

The Juvenile Justice Act postulates a right based approach and the Probation is an effective tool for early rehabilitation and restoration with the participation of children in every stage. The principles of Juvenile Justice Act always imposes to keep the child in the community and the institutionalisation as the last resort. The Department of Social Defence is having one Probation Officer each in all the 32 Districts. In Chennai 3 Probation Officers are additionally appointed considering the volume of cases. The Probation Officers are assigned with preparation of Social Investigation Reports to assist the Child Welfare Committees as well as Juvenile Justice Boards in arriving at proper disposition of cases brought before them. Follow-up of children in conflict with law in specific cases and after care of children who are discharged from children homes are regularly done by Probation Officers. Considering the important role of Probation Officers and the need for periodical training, capacity building, review and monitoring, the Government in the year 2017-2018 had sanctioned one post of Chief Probation Officer and two posts of Regional Probation Officers at Chennai and Madurai respectively. The Probation Wing in the Department of Social Defence is periodically organizing review meetings and determined to improve the probation services to achieve early and effective rehabilitation of children. In addition to 35 Probation Officers in a regular time scale of pay, 24 Legal cum Probation Officers are also appointed under the Child Protection Services in Districts where the number of cases before the Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards are considerably higher.

After Care Organisations

Young adults who require continued institutional care after their discharge (after 18 years of age) from children homes and special homes are accommodated in after care organizations till they attain the age of 21 years. Young adults who could not be restored to their family for various reasons or children continuing their education or undergoing training are usually admitted in the After Care Organizations. There are two After Care Organizations catering to the needs of young adult boys one at Athur, Chengalpattu (Kancheepuram District) and the other at Madurai. One After Care Organisation is functioning at Vellore for young adult girls. During the year 2017-2018, a sum of `165.89 lakh has been spent to run these institutions. Besides, a Non-Governmental Organization in Mayiladuthurai in Nagapattinam District is supported by the Government for running a shelter home with vocational training for mentally challenged young adults.