Sunday, November 14, 2010

In Nepal, street children with mental illness left with nowhere to turn

From Republica:

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- Street children with overt mental disorders often go totally unattended in the country as orphanages in the country are reluctant to admit them.

According to National Centre for Children at Risk, Bhrikutimandap, police frequently bring such children at the center. “However, we do not keep them at the center for long,” admitted police Inspector Malati Shahi, who also the chief of the center.

Worse still, orphanages do not admit children with mental health problems. “They only admit healthy and small children,” Sub-inspector Shankar Shrestha, who is also a staffer at the center, said, adding, “They do not admit children above the age of twelve.” He said that the police have no choice but to leave such children back on the streets if their relatives do not come looking for them. “

Moreover, the center doesn´t keep records of such children.

“When we find disappeared children, our job is just to contact their parents,” Inspector Shahi said, “We also publish their photographs in the newspapers.”

According to the center, such children are only kept at the center for two or three days.