The children don't get desired medical facilities, sufficient food and legal support from the kendra (juvenile development centre) which is meant for children's mental correction and physical growth.
Most of the children are suffering from various health problems, including skin diseases, but are not getting medicinal treatment; their clothes are seen dirty; there is no doctor or assistant to attend them at the centre; the post of the doctor is laying vacant for a long.
The children, involved in crimes or disobeyed to their parents, are usually sent to the centre; they greatly need close psychological treatment but unfortunately hardly they get it from the centre, according to sources.
Their apatite and nutrition is not fulfilled for lack of adequate rice and lower quality of curry, alleged the children.
Each of the children is given every time only one small plate of rice that hardly fulfilled food-demand of the physically growing children; one-fourth of an egg is provided to each of them; they are given meat only a day per week. As a result, growth of the future generation is being badly affected.
The visit to the centre was arranged by Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) and funded by UNICEF under the Project of Communication activities in Developing Children and Women (third phase).
The centre (separate jail of the children) is a special arrangement for the children, involved in crimes and disobeyed to parents. Instead of sending to the normal jail, as per laws, they are sent to the correction centre so that they (future generation) get opportunity to correct themselves and make ideal citizens of the country.
The children are sent to the centre in two ways; the disobeyed children are sent on application of their parents and the children involved in crimes are sent on decision of the children court.
Though the centre is a special arrangement for children, delay of disposal of cases in the children court like the normal court, is compelling some children to stay at the centre for years even without being sentenced.
Shimul, 17, of Amlai village of Sharsha thana in Jessore was sent to the Juvenile Development Centre around three and a half years ago after a murder case was filed against him.
Interestingly, he is yet to be sentenced in the case as the concerned court could not yet deliverer its verdict on it for not finishing investigation. Shimul don't know how many days more he will have to stay here. A source in the children court, seeking anonymity, said, "It (delay of disposal of cases) is an overall problem of judiciary, not only the children court. The serious cases like murder are usually delayed as police could not submit probe report in time."
Lack of judges is another cause for the delay, sources said, adding that "The Judge responsible for the children court here has to play judicial duty in three other separate courts." Though the centre is supposed to have facilities of teaching the children from class one to five, only there is no existence of class four and five there. Curricula of the vocational training is also backdated.
An 11-member forum named 'Case Management Team (CMT)' initiated by UNICEF is working from June, 2009 to ease and expedite the process of freeing of the children from the centre.
The officials of the Juvenile Development Centre confessed all the said problems and pointed poor budget from the government in providing enough facilities to the children.
Only Tk 37 is allotted for food of each child per day, they said, posing a question that "How we will arrange proper food for them by the money."
The CMT team comprised the centre's chief (president), magistrate of the children court and other professionals.
It assists in finding parents of children, freeing and rehabilitating the children, counseling the children and their parents and providing legal assistance.
Under the team work, 28 children were rehabilitated from June, 2009 till December 28, 2010 and 15 others are waiting to be freed and rehabilitated, according to sources.
Assistant Director of the centre Md Fazlur Rahman said that the children are kept here and released as per decision of the concerned court.
"They are provided psychological, academic and technical education for their mental correction and their self dependency," he said.
Fazlur Rahman said, "We have already sent letter on several occasions to the Social Welfare Directorate to increase budget for the centre but we didn't get any response yet."