To address complaints and fix problems plaguing the functioning of observation homes, the state women and child development department along with the revenue department has started grading their performances. Officials said it is a first-of-its-kind initiative and the observation homes which do not get the required grades will lose their licences.
Of the total 994 observation homes across the state, officials have already inspected 874, out of which 421 have bagged A grade (above 90 per cent) , 250 B grade (above 80 per cent), 67 C grade (above 70 per cent) and 136 D grade (below 70 per cent).
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Officials at the Pune commissionerate said that inspections have been completed in all the divisions barring Nashik and Ahmednagar. The inspections were conducted after a Government Resolution (GR) issued on July 13 directed the authorities to check observation homes for overall maintenance and rules laid down by the Child Welfare Committee and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
The grades have been given on the basis of parameters laid down by the women and child development department.
“The observation homes were judged for overall maintenance, cleanliness, staff and student interaction, attendance, food, shelter, checks on those coming to meet children, overall grooming of children and teaching and behaviour,’’said a senior official.
Women and child development department minister Pankaja Munde was keen on getting the grading system in place to cancel licences of over hunderd such homes for poor maintenance. The squads from the women and child development department and the revenue department conducted detailed survey of these homes and graded them on the basis of stipulated parameters.
“The checks by the squads were conducted after proper training. The squads visited the homes three times to ensure the inspections were foolproof,” said an official.
Observation homes which have been given D grade (below 70 per cent) will be assessed again and their licences cancelled if they fail to meet the required parameters.
From numerous complaints of children running away from homes to bad food to poorly maintained homes highlighted in several complaints by activists, the ministry decided to put the grade system in place to give a clear picture of these homes.
Earlier last year, over 100 homes had to face cancellation of licences, said the official.