The purpose of the CWC is to determine the best interest of the child and find the child a safe home and environment either with his/her original parents or adoptive parents, foster care or in an institution.
As per the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 (amended in 2006) , the State Governments are required to establish a CWC or two in every district. Each CWC should consist of a Chairperson and four (4) Members. The chairperson should be a person well versed in child welfare issues and at least one (1) Member of the board should be a woman. The CWC has the same powers as a metropolitan magistrate or a judicial magistrate of the first class. A child can be brought before the committee (or a member of the committee, if necessary) by a police officer, any public servant, CHILDLINE personnel, any social worker or public spirited citizen, or by the child himself/herself.
The CWC usually sends the child to a children's home while the inquiry into the case is conducted for the protection of the child. The CWC meets and interviews the child to learn his/her background information and also understand the problem the child is facing. The Probation Officer (P.O) in - charge of the case must also submit regular reports of the child. A final order must be given within four months of the admission of the child before the CWC.
The CWC also has powers to hold people accountable for the child such as in the case of child labour, the employers are fined or made to give bonds to the children. CWC also has the power to transfer the child to a different CWC closer to the child's home or in the child's state to dispose of the case and reunite the child with his family and community. In the case of an individual child sexual abuse, reporting the abuse can be difficult, since it is often a family member or a known adult that is the abuser. The CWC will instruct the local police station to file a report against the abuser(s) under the relevant IPC clause. The children who have been sexual abused require special attention and tact on the part of the CWC. The case needs to be handled very sensitively and should allow for the child to express his / her emotions and concerns.
As per the provisions of the ICPS, the Government of India provides two grants for setting up of CWCs: A Construction and Maintenance Grant of 9.19 lakhs and a Maintenance Grant of 6.19 lakhs. The cost of setting up CWCs is shared by central and state in 35:65 ratio except in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East, where the ratio stands at 90:10.