This article is written by P. Rahini of Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology an intern under legal vidhiya.
In this article, I’ll give a brief overview of the protocol for handling children who need care and protection. The procedures relating to this are provided under the Child Welfare Committee, which is covered in Section 27 of Chapter V of the Juvenile Justice (Child Care and Protection) Act of 2015. In particular for the safety and protection of children. The juvenile justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015 is a law in India that was primarily created to safeguard and care for children who have violated the law.
Since everything moving at an unprecedented rate in this constantly expanding world, concerns over personal security have grown dramatically. People who can look after and protect themselves make up one side of society, while those who require support or help in doing so make up the other. Children, especially those who have been abandoned, orphaned, or who lack any ability to defend themselves, are among the most vulnerable of all. That is the sole purpose of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, of 2015. The provisions of the act that deal with the procedure, presenting a child before a committee, required reporting, offences, child surrender, inquiry, and the moment a kid is deemed legally free for adoption will be covered in this article.
KEYWORDS: CWC- Child Welfare Committee, Procedures to protect the child, ICPS- Integrated Child Protection Scheme.
A Child Welfare Committee is a committee that has been designated and established for each district under section 27 of the JJ Act, 2015 to exercise the authority and carry out the responsibilities given to such Committees in connection to children in need of care and protection under this Act.
CHILD WELFARE COMMITTEE:
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 (amended in 2006) stipulates that State governments must set up one or more Child Welfare Committees in each district. There should be a Chairperson and four members for each Child Welfare Committee. At least one member of the board should be a woman, and the chairperson should be someone knowledgeable about matters related to child welfare. The Child Welfare Committee has the same authority as a Judicial Magistrate of First Class or a Metropolitan Magistrate. A police officer, any other public employee, kid Line staff, any social worker or concerned citizen, or the kid himself/herself may present a child before the committee (or a member of the committee if necessary).
For the child’s protection, the Child Welfare Committee typically places the youngster in a children’s home while the case is being investigated. The Child Welfare Committee visits with the child and interviews him or her to discover more about their past and the issue they are dealing with. Regular case reports must also be submitted by the case’s probation officer (PO). To provide the child with a safe home and environment, whether it be with his or her birth parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, or in an institution, the Child Welfare Committee must first assess what is in the child’s best interest.
Within four months of the child’s entrance to the Child Welfare Committee, a final order must be issued. The Child Welfare Committee also has the authority to prosecute offenders who harm children, such as those who engage in child work. The employers receive fines or are required to give the kids bonds. To complete the case and reunify the child with his family and community, Child Welfare Committee also has the authority to transfer the child to another Child Welfare Committee that is located closer to the child’s home or in the child’s state.
The Government of India offers two grants for the establishment of the Child Welfare Committee following the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS): a Construction and Maintenance Grant of 9.9 lakhs and a Maintenance Grant of 6.19 lakhs. Except in Jammu & Kashmir and the North East, where the ratio is 90:10, the Central and State Governments split the expense of establishing the Child Welfare Committee at a 35:65 ratio.
PROCEDURES CONCERNING THE COMMITTEE:
Section 28 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015 mentions the committee’s proceedings. The Committee must meet at least 20 days out of every month to ensure that the rules and procedures governing the transaction at its business sessions are followed.
When the Committee visits an established childcare establishment, it counts as a committee meeting. When the Committee is not in session, a kid who requires care, protection, and care must be brought before each committee member and placed in a children’s home or with a suitable adult. If there is a difference of opinion among the Committee members, the opinion of the majority shall govern.
The Chairperson’s opinion will be taken into consideration if there isn’t a majority of this kind. No order made by the Committee may be deemed invalid because of a member’s lone absence from any stage of the proceedings, subject to the requirement of a minimum number of members.
This is applicable as long as there are at least three members present to finally decide the matter.
- The Committee must hold meetings at least 21 days a month and adhere to any rules or procedures that may be established for the conduct of business.
- A visit by the Committee to an existing childcare facility to assess its operations and the welfare of the children there shall be regarded as a meeting of the Committee.
- When the Committee is not in session, a child in need of care and protection may be brought before a specific committee member for placement in a children’s home or with a suitable adult.
- If there is a disagreement among Committee members when a decision is being made, the view of the majority will take precedence; but, if there is no such majority, the opinion of the Chairperson will.
- The Committee may proceed even if one or more members are not present. As long as there are at least three members present when the case is finally resolved, no order issued by the Committee will be invalidated just because a member was absent during a particular stage of the hearing.
POWERS OF THE CHILD WELFARE COMMITTEE:
Section 29 of the Juvenile Justice (Child Care and Protection) Act of 2015 outlines the powers of the Child Welfare Committee.
- The Committee has full authority to reject matters involving the management, care, and protection of children.
- Cases involving the development, rehabilitation, and protection of children in need, as well as supplying them with the fundamental care and protection they require, may also be dismissed by the Committee.
- When a Committee is established for a specific area, it has the authority to manage all operations carried out following the provisions of this law about children who require care and protection.
- The Committee is prohibited from acting in a manner that conflicts with any provision of any other applicable legislation while acting on the delegated authority granted under this Act.
The Department of Development for Women and Children (Government of Maharashtra) issued a government circular on June 16, 2016, in the case of Ms Sheila Ramchandra Singh v. State of Maharashtra and others.
The group agreed that the Thane Child Development Committee in Maharashtra may be completely constituted and operational. The Child Health Committee’s case has been forwarded by the State Government to the Mumbai Committee on Child Welfare in light of the aforementioned circular. This was given in court by the deputy secretary of the Department of Women and Child Development.
The Child Welfare Committee in Mumbai has been instructed by the court to consider the case on April 4, 2016, after giving it a top priority and obtaining the required court directives. By providing them with such instructions, the request was rejected.
FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHILD WELFARE COMMITTEE:
The following are some of the Child Welfare Committee’s components:
- Children who have experienced abuse or neglect must show up in front of the Committee.
- The Committee should also be made aware of the kids who are being brought in.
- to research to establish who is qualified to look after youngsters that require protection and care.
- to oversee a child’s placement in a foster care facility.
- to instruct District Child Protection Units, Non-Governmental Organisations, and Child Welfare Officers to carry out social investigations and report their findings to the Committee.
- This Act mandates the conducting of an investigation into issues about and having an impact on the safety and well-being of children.
- To provide children who need care and protection with such care and protection, restoration, and appropriate rehabilitation. This is decided by the child’s particular care plan. Giving necessary directions to parents, guardians, fit adults, and children’s homes or fitness centres are also included in this.
- To verify the parents’ performance of the surrender deed and make sure they are given time
- to reflect on their choice and reconsider maintaining the family unit.
- to make certain that, in compliance with the Act’s obligations, all efforts are made to reconnect lost or abandoned children with their families.
- Declare orphans, abandoned, or surrendered children to be legally available for adoption after conducting a comprehensive inquiry.
- recognising incidents on its own and contacting youngsters in need of protection and care.
- the rehabilitation of children who have been sexually attacked and who have been reported to the Committee, the Special Juvenile Police Unit, or the local police as needing protection and care.
- to work together with other divisions involved in the upbringing and protection of children.
The police, the employment department, and other organisations are among these.
- Investigate the allegations of child abuse and provide advice to the District Child Protection Unit or the police.
- The Functions and Responsibilities of the Child Welfare Committee are mentioned in Section 30 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
A petition was filed against the father of Kumari Amalenthu, who was the victim of a rape case, in the matter of Krishna Kumar v. At the Kollam Child Welfare Committee.
The child was taken by the Child Welfare Committee and placed in a home at the Nirbhaya Shelter Home despite the father’s objections, which were addressed in court. He battled for the child’s custody because he was the biological father. According to the knowledgeable Counsel, the youngster has no grievance against the father.
Why the child was transferred to the hospital where the primary carer was being treated was not further explained. She naturally wants to be in contact with her birth father. The experienced attorney then made the ridiculous claim that the child was kidnapped while in the custody of the police.
The court in the aforementioned situations felt that the kid would be safer in the care of the kid Welfare Committee. The applicant will have the opportunity to address the Child Welfare Committee and request the necessary guidance, at which point the letter will be revoked.
I conclude that Child Welfare Committees are established by the State Government in various areas. These Child Welfare Committees have four main functions: exercising their authority, carrying out committee-related procedures, carrying out their duties and responsibilities, and delegating work to other committees that use the law to safeguard and care for children.
The goal of child protection is to safeguard children from any threat—real or imagined—that could jeopardise their well-being or childhood. He is concerned with lowering their risk of suffering any kind of accident and making sure that no youngster gets caught in the public safety net. Those kids who do should get the assistance, care, and encouragement they need to get back home safely. The Child Welfare Committee strives to provide kids with this choice.