CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu will soon have two more homes to accommodate abandoned children with special needs. The state has been grappling for a long time with inadequate space to house children with physical disabilities
, even as child rights activists were demanding for additional homes.
“We are in the process of finalizing the proposal, after which we will take further steps to start these homes,” said a senior official from the department of social welfare. These new government-run homes are likely to open in the next four months.
M Gnanasambandam, director of Arivagam home for mentally and physically disabled children in Mayiladuthurai, reiterated that the government must also prioritize this ‘section’ of children and open more homes since the existing ones are almost full. According to members from the child welfare committee, at least two children with disabilities
are being rescued daily. It is often a struggle to place them in these children’s homes since they are already full.
“We have 300 children with various disabilities — a few even requiring palliative care. However, since we have reached the maximum capacity, we are unable to take more children,” said Gnanasambandam.
Iyyappan Subramaniam, founder of Arunodaya Charitable Trust in Kolathur that also takes children with disabilities, had the same issue. He recalled a few incidents when rescued children with disabilities had to struggled to find a home.
“Children from various parts of the state are referred to these three homes. It is not at all enough, considering the number of children that need care and protection. We are in desperate need of more homes,” said Iyyappan, who had also submitted proposals to the department to open additional homes more than a year ago.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015, mandates every state government to establish and maintain child care homes in every district. It is also mandated that at least one of the homes is well-equipped to deliver specialized services, depending on the requirement, to rescued children with special needs.
“While we have several other government-run homes for normal children, there are very few shelters available for children with special needs. We hope these home start functioning soon,” said Gnanasambandam.
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