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Child Welfare Committee


Child Welfare Committee
Child Welfare Committee

Content:-



Definition

Section 2(22) - “Committee” means Child Welfare Committee constituted under section 27;



Child Welfare Committee

Section 27 establishes the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and outlines its composition, functions, and procedures:


  • The State Government is mandated to establish one or more CWCs for each district through an official notification. These committees are tasked with addressing the needs and ensuring the protection of children under this Act. Additionally, the State Government must ensure that all committee members receive induction training and sensitization within two months of notification.


  • Each CWC consists of a Chairperson and four other members appointed by the State Government. At least one member must be a woman, and another must possess expertise in matters concerning children.


  • The District Child Protection Unit is responsible for providing secretarial support to the CWC, including a Secretary and other necessary staff.


  • The appointment criteria for CWC members are specified, requiring qualifications in fields related to child psychology, psychiatry, law, social work, sociology, human health, education, or special education for differently-abled children. Additionally, stringent eligibility conditions are set to ensure the integrity and suitability of members, including checks for past violations of human or child rights, criminal convictions, involvement in child abuse or immoral acts, and connections to child care institutions.


  • Members serve for a maximum period of three years, and their appointment can be terminated by the State Government for various reasons, including misuse of power, criminal convictions, or prolonged absence from committee proceedings.


  • The CWC submits reports to the District Magistrate, who conducts quarterly reviews of its functioning.


  • The CWC operates as a bench and possesses powers akin to those of a Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate of First Class under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.


  • The District Magistrate serves as the grievance redressal authority for any complaints regarding the CWC's functioning. Grievances can be filed by affected children or individuals connected to them, and the District Magistrate is responsible for reviewing the actions of the Committee and issuing appropriate orders after hearing all parties involved.

 
 

Procedure in relation to Committee

Section 28 outlines the procedural aspects concerning the functioning of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC):


  • The Committee is required to convene meetings at least twenty days per month and adhere to prescribed rules and procedures for conducting business during these meetings.


  • A visit by the Committee to an existing child care institution to assess its operations and the well-being of the children therein is considered an official session of the Committee.


  • If a child in need of care and protection requires immediate attention when the Committee is not in session, they may be presented before an individual member of the Committee for placement in a Children’s Home or with a suitable guardian.


  • In case of any disagreements among Committee members during decision-making, the majority opinion prevails. If no majority is reached, the opinion of the Chairperson holds sway.


  • The Committee is empowered to function even in the absence of some of its members. Any decisions made by the Committee are not invalidated solely due to the absence of a member at any stage of the proceedings. However, a minimum of three members must be present during the final disposal of a case.



Powers of Committee

Section 29 delineates the powers vested in the Child Welfare Committee (CWC):


  • The Committee is empowered to handle cases concerning the care, protection, treatment, development, and rehabilitation of children in need of care and protection. This includes ensuring that these children receive the necessary support for their basic needs and safeguarding their well-being.


  • Any Committee established for a specific area possesses exclusive jurisdiction over all proceedings under this Act related to children in need of care and protection. This jurisdiction prevails over any conflicting provisions in other laws currently in force, except where expressly stated otherwise in this Act. Thus, the Committee has the authority to oversee and address matters concerning vulnerable children within its designated area without interference from other legal frameworks, ensuring focused attention and effective interventions tailored to the needs of these children.



Functions and responsibilities of Committee

The functions and responsibilities of the Committee encompass a wide range of activities aimed at ensuring the welfare and protection of children under this Act:


  1. Receiving and acknowledging children brought before it.

  2. Conducting inquiries into matters concerning the safety and well-being of children covered by this Act.

  3. Directing Child Welfare Officers, probation officers, District Child Protection Units, or NGOs to conduct social investigations and submit reports.

  4. Conducting inquiries to determine suitable caregivers for children in need of care and protection.

  5. Arranging foster care placements for children.

  6. Ensuring the care, protection, and appropriate rehabilitation of children based on their individual care plans, and issuing necessary directives to parents, guardians, caregivers, children's homes, or facilities.

  7. Selecting registered institutions for the placement of children requiring institutional support, considering factors like age, gender, disability, and needs.

  8. Conducting regular inspections of residential facilities for children and recommending improvements in services to the District Child Protection Unit and the State Government.

  9. Certifying the execution of surrender deeds by parents and providing them with time to reconsider their decision, while endeavoring to keep families together.

  10. Facilitating efforts to reunite abandoned or lost children with their families through prescribed procedures.

  11. Declaring orphaned, abandoned, or surrendered children legally free for adoption following due inquiry.

  12. Taking proactive measures, with the agreement of at least three members, to reach out to children in need of care and protection who have not been brought before the Committee.

  13. Addressing cases of sexually abused children reported to the Committee by Special Juvenile Police Units or local police under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

  14. Handling cases referred by the Board under specified provisions.

  15. Coordinating with law enforcement agencies, labor departments, and other relevant bodies involved in child care and protection.

  16. Investigating complaints of abuse in child care institutions and issuing directives to relevant authorities.

  17. Facilitating access to legal services for children.

  18. Undertaking any other functions and responsibilities prescribed under the Act.

 
 

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