Section 36 in The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act

Title: Inquiry

Description: (1) On production of a child or receipt of a report under section 31, the Committee shall hold an inquiry in such manner as may be prescribed and the Committee, on its own or on the report from any person or agency as specified in sub-section (2) of section 31, may pass an order to send the child to the childrens home or a fit facility or fit person, and for speedy social investigation by a social worker or Child Welfare Officer or Child Welfare Police Officer: Provided that all children below six years of age, who are orphan, surrendered or appear to be abandoned shall be placed in a Specialised Adoption Agency, where available. (2) The social investigation shall be completed within fifteen days so as to enable the Committee to pass final order within four months of first production of the child: Provided that for orphan, abandoned or surrendered children, the time for completion of inquiry shall be as specified in section 38. (3) After the completion of the inquiry, if Committee is of the opinion that the said child has no family or ostensible support or is in continued need of care and protection, it may send the child to a Specialised Adoption Agency if the child is below six years of age, childrens home or to a fit facility or person or foster family, till suitable means of rehabilitation are found for the child, as may be prescribed, or till the child attains the age of eighteen years: Provided that the situation of the child placed in a childrens home or with a fit facility or person or a foster family, shall be reviewed by the Committee, as may be prescribed. (4) The Committee shall submit a quarterly report on the nature of disposal of cases and pendency of cases to the District Magistrate in the manner as may be prescribed, for review of pendency of cases. (5) After review under sub-section (4), the District Magistrate shall direct the Committee to take necessary remedial measures to address the pendency, if necessary and send a report of such reviews to the State Government, who may cause the constitution of additional Committees, if required: Provided that if the pendency of cases continues to be unaddressed by the Committee even after three months of receiving such directions, the State Government shall terminate the said Committee and shall constitute a new Committee. (6) In anticipation of termination of the Committee and in order that no time is lost in constituting a new Committee, the State Government shall maintain a standing panel of eligible persons to be appointed as members of the Committee. (7) In case of any delay in the constitution of a new Committee under sub-section (5), the Child Welfare Committee of a nearby district shall assume responsibility in the intervening period.

Title: Orders passed regarding a child in need of care and protection

Description: (1) The Committee on being satisfied through the inquiry that the child before the Committee is a child in need of care and protection, may, on consideration of Social Investigation Report submitted by Child Welfare Officer and taking into account the childs wishes in case the child is sufficiently mature to take a view, pass one or more of the following orders, namely:— (a) declaration that a child is in need of care and protection; (b) restoration of the child to parents or guardian or family with or without supervision of Child Welfare Officer or designated social worker; (c) placement of the child in Childrens Home or fit facility or Specialised Adoption Agency for the purpose of adoption for long term or temporary care, keeping in mind the capacity of the institution for housing such children, either after reaching the conclusion that the family of the child cannot be traced or even if traced, restoration of the child to the family is not in the best interest of the child; (d) placement of the child with fit person for long term or temporary care; (e) foster care orders under section 44; (f) sponsorship orders under section 45; (g) directions to persons or institutions or facilities in whose care the child is placed, regarding care, protection and rehabilitation of the child, including directions relating to immediate shelter and services such as medical attention, psychiatric and psychological support including need-based counselling, occupational therapy or behaviour modification therapy, skill training, legal aid, educational services, and other developmental activities, as required, as well as follow-up and coordination with the District Child Protection Unit or State Government and other agencies; (h) declaration that the child is legally free for adoption under section 38. (2) The Committee may also pass orders for— (i) declaration of fit persons for foster care; (ii) getting after care support under section 46 of the Act; or (iii) any other order related to any other function as may be prescribed.

Title: Procedure for declaring a child legally free for adoption

Description: (1) In case of orphan and abandoned child, the Committee shall make all efforts for tracing the parents or guardians of the child and on completion of such inquiry, if it is established that the child is either an orphan having no one to take care, or abandoned, the Committee shall declare the child legally free for adoption: Provided that such declaration shall be made within a period of two months from the date of production of the child, for children who are up to two years of age and within four months for children above two years of age: Provided further that notwithstanding anything contained in this regard in any other law for the time being in force, no first information report shall be registered against any biological parent in the process of inquiry relating to an abandoned or surrendered child under this Act. (2) In case of surrendered child, the institution where the child has been placed by the Committee on an application for surrender, shall bring the case before the Committee immediately on completion of the period specified in section 35, for declaring the child legally free for adoption. (3) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, a child of a mentally retarded parents or a unwanted child of victim of sexual assault, such child may be declared free for adoption by the Committee, by following the procedure under this Act. (4) The decision to declare an orphan, abandoned or surrendered child as legally free for adoption shall be taken by at least three members of the Committee. (5) The Committee shall inform the State Agency and the Authority regarding the number of children declared as legally free for adoption and number of cases pending for decision in the manner as may be prescribed, every month.

Title: Process of rehabilitation and social re integration

Description: (1) The process of rehabilitation and social integration of children under this Act shall be undertaken, based on the individual care plan of the child, preferably through family based care such as by restoration to family or guardian with or without supervision or sponsorship, or adoption or foster care: Provided that all efforts shall be made to keep siblings placed in institutional or non-institutional care, together, unless it is in their best interest not to be kept together. (2) For children in conflict with law the process of rehabilitation and social integration shall be undertaken in the observation homes, if the child is not released on bail or in special homes or place of safety or fit facility or with a fit person, if placed there by the order of the Board. (3) The children in need of care and protection who are not placed in families for any reason may be placed in an institution registered for such children under this Act or with a fit person or a fit facility, on a temporary or long-term basis, and the process of rehabilitation and social integration shall be undertaken wherever the child is so placed. (4) The Children in need of care and protection who are leaving institutional care or children in conflict with law leaving special homes or place of safety on attaining eighteen years of age, may be provided financial support as specified in section 46, to help them to re-integrate into the mainstream of the society.

Title: Restoration of child in need of care and protection

Description: (1) The restoration and protection of a child shall be the prime objective of any Children's Home, Specialised Adoption Agency or open shelter. (2) The Childrens Home, Specialised Adoption Agency or an open shelter, as the case may be, shall take such steps as are considered necessary for the restoration and protection of a child deprived of his family environment temporarily or permanently where such child is under their care and protection. (3) The Committee shall have the powers to restore any child in need of care and protection to his parents, guardian or fit person, as the case may be, after determining the suitability of the parents or guardian or fit person to take care of the child, and give them suitable directions. Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, "restoration and protection of a child" means restoration to— (a) parents; (b) adoptive parents; (c) foster parents; (d) guardian; or (e) fit person.