WP probation and child care commission defends accused home

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The Prem Niwasa Children’s Home in Moratuwa, where the alleged child farm racket had been operated, has been registered with the Western Provincial Probation and Childcare Department (WPPCD) and it had given children for adoption to local and foreign people, following the normal procedure for adoption under the adoption ordinance, WPPCD Commissioner, G. P. D. Somarathne said.

The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) and the police raided the premises on November 23.

NCPA and the police have launched a full investigation into the presence of over 65 babies and over 13 pregnant women, among whom two were underage, at the children’s Home. Two employees were taken in for questioning and later remanded.

"The Children’s Home is currently under the custody of the NCPA" he said. Action had been taken following a call to the 1929 hotline. Somarathna added that the Children’s Home was supervised by officials regularly and the WPPCD had still not received any complaints and he did not approve allegations that children in this Home had been sold.

The Children’s Home runs as a charity by the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, established in 1950 by Mother Theresa of Calcutta, which consists of over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries. They had enough funds to look after the children and the Home administration did not even get the allocation given by the Department. They provided all the facilities to the children, Somarathne added.

Meanwhile, NCPA chairperson, Anoma Dissanayake said "we cannot accept the way this Home was being run."

An official of the Archdiocese of Colombo said that the publicity given by the media to the alleged happenings at the Children’s Home in Moratuwa was incomplete.

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