Abandoned by mother, child forced to stay in psychiatry institute


30-Apr-2012

Preetu Venugopalan Nair
PANAJI: Abandoned by his mother, a 15-year-old boy has nowhere to go and is forced to stay at the institute of psychiatry and human behavior (IPHB), as authorities at the state run home for children, Apna Ghar, are refusing to accept him.
The doctor treating the boy at IPHB certified him fit to be discharged almost a fortnight ago. The boy had been detected with conduct disorder and treated for this at IPHB.
Sources said Apna Ghar authorities are refusing to accept the child stating that conduct disorder is a “mental illness” and the boy should be kept at IPHB and not Apna Ghar. The doctor treating the boy has now written to CWC (South) stating that most Apna Ghar inmates show signs of conduct disorder and the child needs to be kept at Apna Ghar, not IPHB.
Confirming receiving the letter, CWC (South) chairperson Martha Mascarenhas said, “We are concerned about the boy’s safety and welfare and are worried that if brought to Apna Ghar his situation may worsen. Also we have to look into the other children’s safety. We are in talks with two homes in which to lodge the boy. In case he is not taken in by either of these homes, he will be brought back to Apna Ghar. We don’t want the child to be troubled anymore.”
She added, “I had met him in IPHB and the tears in his eyes shattered me. I don’t want the child to continue staying with adults in IPHB. The child is special and he needs care and love.” CWC looks into issues of children in need of care and shelter lodged in the state run home.
The minor was referred to IPHB after he, along with two other children, went on a rampage and vandalized the child welfare committee’s (CWC) offices and the dormitory in February this year. The child was allegedly upset as he was kept in a separate room and not allowed to interact with other children in the home.
Psychiatrists said conduct disorder is a psychological problem diagnosed in childhood and juvenile delinquents. “Most of the children in Apna Ghar come to IPHB with such a problem,” a psychiatrist at IPHB said.
CWC claims that on the psychiatrist’s advice, they are trying to arrange some employment for the minor boy. “The doctors have said he needs to be occupied with some job so that it can bring in a change in his life and attitude. I have spoken to NGOs ARZ and SCAN to help the boy get a job,” added Mascarenhas.
When contacted, ARZ representative Arun Pandey said, “This amounts to child labour. What the child requires is care and protection and not employment. He seems to be in a no man’s land in the most child friendly state in India, with Apna Ghar and even NGOs neglecting him.”

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