TRICHY: The district administration and district social welfare office (DSWO) confidentially organized counselling for 87 inmates of Mose Ministries’ children home a few days ago to know whether they are willing to reunite with their biological parents or continue at the home.
The counselling session which began on February 10 went on till February 13, as the girls at the home were sorted into four groups for convenience. The sessions were chaired at the DSWO near the collector’s office.
Sources said that about 25 of them expressed their willingness to reunite with their families while 11 were indecisive. The rest of the girls preferred to continue at the home. The district social welfare officer and counsellors interacted with the girls and explained to them about their right to choose their way of life, including the pros and cons of their choice.
On November 25, 2018, a Supreme Court bench of justices S B Bobde and L Nageswara Rao ordered that the girls be provided counselling and also restricted father Gideon Jacob from contacting them. The court also warned of shifting the girls to other government homes if they were found to have contacted the father directly or indirectly “Of late, many parents have been visiting their daughters at the home and emotional bonds have formed. Such inmates are willing to permanently join their family whereas some are not yet confident of going with their parents.
They want to stay with the parents for a few days to check if it will work out for them. There is a provision for that too. If they want to return to the home, they can do so,” said a source on condition of anonymity. Some women were afraid of giving up their religious customs practised by them at the children’s home, for While the DNA of 41 women matched with 40 parents, some from Usilampatti in Madurai have also applied for DNA test to check if their daughters are residing at the home.
The district social welfare office has planned to organise a meeting in a day or two and to decide on arranging for DNA test for the rest. Mose Ministries children home has been embroiled in controversy after an inspection by the child welfare committee (CWC) in 2015 had brought to light the functioning of the unregistered home with 89 girls since 1994.
The home should have been registered under the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986, or under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 .
The home claimed that they saved girls from female infanticide which was prevalent in Usilampatti.