October 31, 2019
Babies abandoned in public garbage bins, toilets and railway compartments, or said to bring ‘bad luck’ are given a new lease of life by the Coimbatore division of Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
The fledgling child welfare organisation has taken 10 to 12 abandoned babies under its wings from its inception in November 2018 and has been rehabilitating them.
“The infants are usually about two to three weeks old. If they are underweight or malnourished we send them to the government hospital and once discharged we place them in one of the 56 homes registered under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) act with CWC.
“We then advertise the baby’s details in a newspaper and wait up to 90 days to see if anybody stakes legal or familial claims. Until then the baby is in care of Special Adoption Agency after which if there are no claims, it is listed with Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). The CARA then screens prospective adoptive parents for the baby before completing other formalities,” explains Priya.
She said that adoption is completed before the baby’s infanthood because there is always a waiting list of adoptive parents.
“There is no sex discrimination in abandonment both boys and girls are equally abandoned. Sometimes they are sold by mothers or relatives and we intervene in such cases also. We have two such babies and legal action is going on the mother and potential buyer,” concludes Priya.
Elaborating on the circumstances in which these babies are found, CWC Coimbatore chairperson, Priya Vijayakumar, told The Covai Post: “Most of these babies come to us from the cradle baby scheme at government hospitals, some from NGOs where unwed mothers deliver their babies, some from the Railway Police after they are abandoned inside trains.”
Priya added that some of these babies are found in garbage bins, toilets and many other places.
According to her, none of these babies have been reclaimed, and all have been put up for adoption.
Citing a “strange” case, she said, “One couple wanted to leave their 11-month-old daughter with us because some astrologer had predicted that she would bring ‘bad luck’ to them.”
“Ironically the mother wanted to keep the baby girl, while the father didn’t want her. We counselled them about superstition and finally advised spiritual remedy or ‘parikaram’ with a one month wait.”
The CWC is a five-member team nominated or selected through an interview. They also serve as gazetted officers for a three-year tenure and are primarily responsible for the care and protection of children in the district with the exception of juvenile delinquents, who are entrusted to the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).
“Our committee comes under the Department of Social Defence and we work closely with government departments like the District Child Protection Unit, urban and rural police, antihuman trafficking unit, child labour unit and social welfare Department.”
She adds that the committee is basically a child friendly court and has rights equivalent to a magistrate court.
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