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Child in need of Care and Protection


Child in need of Care and Protection
Child in need of Care and Protection

Content:-



Definition

Section 2(14) "Child in need of care and protection" refers to a child who meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • The child is discovered without a permanent home or stable living situation and lacks any apparent means of support.


  • The child is found engaged in work that violates the provisions of this Act or labor laws, or is found begging or living on the streets.


  • The child resides with an individual, whether a guardian or not, who:


(a) has harmed, exploited, abused, or neglected the child, or has violated any law meant for child protection,


(b) has threatened to harm, exploit, or abuse the child, with a reasonable likelihood of carrying out the threat,


(c) has harmed, abused, neglected, or exploited other children, with a reasonable likelihood of doing the same to the child in question.


  • The child is mentally or physically challenged, suffering from a terminal or incurable illness, and lacks adequate support or caregiving from parents or guardians deemed unfit by the Board or Committee.


  • The child has a parent or guardian who is unfit or unable to care for and protect their safety and well-being, as determined by the Committee or Board.


  • The child lacks parents or guardians willing to provide care and protection, or has been abandoned or surrendered.


  • The child is missing or has run away, or their parents cannot be located after reasonable inquiry as prescribed.


  • The child has been, or is at risk of being, abused, tortured, or exploited for sexual abuse or illegal activities.


  • The child is vulnerable and has been, is being, or is likely to be involved in drug abuse or trafficking.


  • The child is being, or is at risk of being, exploited for unfair gain.


  • The child is a victim of or affected by armed conflict, civil unrest, or natural disasters.


  • The child is at imminent risk of being married before reaching the legal age of marriage, and their parents, family members, guardians, or others are likely to facilitate such a marriage.

 
 

Procedure Regarding Children In Need Of Care And Protection

Section 31 outlines the procedure for bringing a child in need of care and protection before the Committee:


Any child requiring care and protection can be presented before the Committee by various individuals or entities, including:


  • Police officers, Special Juvenile Police Units, designated Child Welfare Police Officers, officers of the District Child Protection Unit, or inspectors appointed under labor laws.


  • Public servants.


  • Childline Services, voluntary organizations, or agencies recognized by the State Government.


  • Child Welfare Officers or probation officers.


  • Social workers or concerned citizens.


  • The child themselves.


  • Nurses, doctors, or management of medical facilities like nursing homes, hospitals, or maternity homes.


It is mandated that the child should be brought before the Committee promptly, without delay, and within twenty-four hours, excluding travel time. This ensures swift intervention and protection for the child.


Furthermore, the State Government is empowered to formulate rules consistent with this Act to govern the procedure for submitting reports to the Committee and for transferring and placing the child in a children’s home, suitable facility, or with a suitable caregiver during the course of the inquiry. These rules aim to ensure that the welfare and best interests of the child are prioritized throughout the process.



Mandatory reporting regarding a child found separated from guardian

It is mandatory for any individual, police officer, organizational functionary, nursing home, hospital, or maternity home encountering and assuming responsibility for a child who appears to be abandoned, lost, or orphaned without family support to promptly report the situation.


This report must be made within twenty-four hours (excluding travel time) to either Childline Services, the nearest police station, a Child Welfare Committee, or the District Child Protection Unit. Alternatively, the child may be handed over to a child care institution registered under this Act.


Furthermore, information regarding such a child must be recorded and uploaded onto a designated portal by the Committee, District Child Protection Unit, or the concerned child care institution, as directed by the Central Government.



Offence of non-reporting

Section 33: Failure to report as mandated in Section 32 constitutes an offence. 


Section 34: Those found guilty of violating Section 33 are subject to a penalty, which may include imprisonment for a maximum of six months, a fine of up to ten thousand rupees, or both.



Surrender of children

Section 35: 

1. Parents or guardians who, due to circumstances beyond their control, wish to surrender a child must present the child before the Committee.


2. Upon satisfactory inquiry and counseling by the Committee, a surrender deed is executed by the parent or guardian.


3. The parents or guardians are granted a two-month period to reconsider their decision. During this time, the Committee may either allow the child to remain with the parents or guardians under supervision, or place the child in a Specialized Adoption Agency if below six years old, or a children’s home if above six years old.

 
 


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