The large number of vacancies in Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees is paralysing the administration of the juvenile justice system, Supreme Court judge Justice S Ravindra Bhat said on Saturday. ."Every institution, whether it is Juvenile Justice Board or Child Welfare Committees or other such institutions, are running below their strength. Most of them have a large number of vacancies and these vacancies are actually debilitating and they paralyse the system. Without the full strength of the child welfare committee or the appropriate available coram, the committee is unable to function," the judge said. .If there is no common protocol that makes it binding on states to appoint members, these institutions would be rendered paper tigers, he added."If we are to provide for the protection of children, the first place where rescued children are taken is the CWC. It is the agency of the state in charge of their person, looks after their welfare and ongoing restorative processes. If these committees are not functioning throughout there will be a breakdown of the system. I want to place this at the centre stage.".Justice Bhat was speaking at the inaugural session of the 8th National Annual Stakeholders Consultation on Children in Conflict with Law, organised by the Supreme Court Committee on Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare, along with Supreme Court Justice BV Nagarathna.Justice Bhat, who is the chairperson of the Supreme Court Committee, also highlighted two aspects of child care within institutions - care while in the institution and care after having left the institution as an adult. .The judge pointed out that when a child is in an institution, even for a short term, efforts must be undertaken to facilitate education, counselling, sports and life skill education."Much would depend on the education capsule that a child is given. Sometimes you have children who are staying for six months or a year, and the maximum that a child stays is three years. Much depends on the ability of learning of the child and the gaps the child has faced. Some children are not lettered at all. Do you have bridge courses where they are educated in order to reach a stage where they can be educated further?".The other challenge is the care to be given to a person exiting an institution as an 18-year-old, Justice Bhat said."We have marginal cases where children reach the age of 18 and the world is uncertain. Especially from the point of view of a child who is in a care institution, and has seen no parent. When he or she comes out, he is in a void. We don’t know where they go or how they are cared for. I am told that some financial assistance is given. I think it is our duty that whatever resources are available, information is disseminated in the widest possible manner," the judge said in conclusion..In her address, Justice Nagarathna focused on the importance of care and protection given to a child in conflict with law. She stressed that children come in conflict with law because of parental or societal neglect. "About 85% of apprehended juveniles lived with their parents, which clearly reflects an inherent failure of family and community in nurturing the future generation. Further, 91% have at least received primary education. Does this reflect failure of education system in inculcating value based education? Or education for good citizenship? These statistics reflect the need for strong preventive measures to reduce the nature of these crimes," she opined. .She also suggested that curriculum in schools needed to emphasize on the values of kindness, respect and empathy, along with community involvement..The inaugural session was also attended by Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani and UNICEF India Representative Cynthia McCaffrey.