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Maharashtra to create website for ‘missing’ kids staying at borstals

Aiming to make easier the identification of ‘missing’ children across the state, the Maharashtra government is mulling to create a website where details of such inmates along with their photographs will be uploaded so that they can be reunited with their families.

The website, which is yet to get a URL, will be linked with the Central government’s Ministry of Women and Child Development official website.

“There are currently about 92,000 children residing in 1,108 reform homes across the state. These children have either been caught doing prohibited labour work or have been seen begging on streets. Even children who stay on footpaths are usually sent to reform homes,” an official from the state Women and Child Welfare department said.

“If these children are brought to Maharashtra from far flung places of the country, it becomes very difficult for the child’s parents to track their kids and it is difficult for us too if these children do not have the necessary details.

“When we start a website exclusively for such missing children, a parent from any state of the country will be able to check if his child is found to be in Maharashtra,” the official added.

He said that there are, currently, 28 government borstals, 991 private borstals aided by the government and 89 private borstals spread across the state.

“Even a common man can get photos of their missing children uploaded on the website via local police stations or WCD department offices. These photos will then be matched with the database that we already have of children. Even if we succeed in helping 25% of the total children that we currently have in reform homes, our initiative will prove to be a success,” he said.

According to rules, a child found doing labour intensive work is first brought the local police or WCD officials to borstals, following which they are presented in front of a Child Welfare Committee (CWC).

The CWC then decides the merits of the case, based on which a probationary officer is entitled with the task of gathering details about the child.

These details are then presented before the CWC, which then hands over the child to its parents.

“Through this website, we only want to ensure that children who for some reason have parted with their families are reunited with them. Here, we will not entertain any women complaints,” the officer said.

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