The Delhi government plans to engage a number of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and counsellors to address the needs of those in child care homes who are struggling to overcome effects of various forms of violence and abuse.
The initiative by the Women and Child Development Department comes nearly 10 months after a Tata Institute of Social Services audit found grave instances of abuse at around 14 shelter homes for women and children in the capital.
Rule 35 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Model Rules, 2016, mandates mental health services, including individual therapy, at all such homes by trained professionals.
According to the plan, under the mental health services, “psychological assessment, psycho-social profiling, counselling, prevention and treatment of mental stress, psychological and behavioural disorders” will be made available.
There are 20 such homes and institutions under the Delhi government. While some shelter homes are for victims of abuse, neglect and trafficking among others, the remaining are for children in conflict with law.
The department has invited expressions of interest from external agencies, hospitals, nursing homes and trusts, seeking to engage at least three psychiatrists, nine clinical psychologists and 18 counsellors for psychological as well as medicinal interventions in required cases.
The scope of their work has been broken up into 15 categories, ranging from screening of all inmates within two days of their admissions to “preventive therapeutic intervention for residents with suicidal tendencies and those of violent conduct and abnormal sexual behaviour”.
The professionals will be tasked with identifying and treating mental disorders or illnesses, counsel and impart life skills to those who have suffered violence and abuse, and prepare them for independent survival, among others.
“The agency shall maintain a separate file in respect of each resident containing the complete psychological profile, background, documentation of mental health status, medication (if any), counseling sessions, milestones achieved in the psychological health of the resident, which shall be the property of the WCD,” the department has said in its EOI.
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