Child protection by indian law
TARA works under the auspices of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 (JJ Act) which defines the framework of the legislation on child protection in India. All the rules implemented in TARA result from the provisions of the JJ Act and its guidelines are regularly discussed with the children and the team. Here is what you always wanted to know about the JJ Act, 2015.
This page was written on the basis of a workshop conducted with a social worker and a group of TARA Boys and TARA Girls.
How does juvenile justice work in India ?The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, defines the legal framework in which juveniles (below 18 years old in India) can appear before a judge. Juveniles in conflict with the law must be distinguished from children in need of care and protection. If the situation requires it, the latter can be placed by a judge in a children home to protect them. TARA children are thus all “children in need of care and protection”, as per the definition given by the Juvenile Justice Act.
What is the JJ Act? What does it serve?
The Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 is the major legal text on Child Protection in India. The JJ Act guarantees the security, the protection, the education and the well-being of the children in need in India. The JJ Act recommends enquiries to determine if the situation of vulnerability of a child requires a placement in a children’s home.
Who sends the children to a home like TARA?
The Child Welfare Committee (a Board of Magistrates representing the Government of India) decides if the placement of the child is necessary, as provided for by the Juvenile Justice Act. There is one Child Welfare Committee (CWC) per district in India. They decide what the appropriate response to the situation is, according to the legislation on Child Protection in India.
"It does not apply to children who live a quiet and normal life but to those who experience difficulties."
Ramu, TARA Boy
What does the Child Welfare Committee do?
They conduct an enquiry on the child and family situation. If the child is truly in need of care and protection, the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 demands that he or she be placed in a children’s home like TARA. The CWC therefore orders this placement.
The CWC is also in charge of making sure that TARA’s homes respect the provisions of the JJ Act and that the children are taken care of properly.
In which situations does TARA go to the CWC?
Each child is produced before the Child Welfare Committee once a year to renew their long term placement order. In addition, TARA submits to the judge a Quarterly Progress Report for each child, highlighting their acheivements and difficulties.
In case of a major issue faced by a child in TARA, the Child Welfare Committee is immediately informed and decides on appropriate measures to take.
"I feel protected by the Juvenile Justice Act. If something happens, I can inform the staff or the judge. There is always someone to help me in case of an emergency."
Nandini, TARA Girl
The Juvenile Justice Act - Principles in practice
- Children meet with their families every month and exchange a weekly phone call when possible
- Children deposit complaints and suggestions in a dedicated box which are reviewed weekly during the staff meeting in presence of the Child Representative
- Children are supervised round the clock by competent, reliable and trained adults
- Children are supervised at night by dedicated night staff who complete half hourly checks during this most vulnerable time
- Girl children are always surrounded by at least one female staff