chapter  II
5 Pages

Historical overview of child care

Little is known about the early history of child care except through gleanings from the sacred books which guide the principal styles of living. The Grhyasutras, in the ancient scriptures clearly lay down the principles for ritualistic recognition of the child's developmental stages. Children were essentially the responsibility of the family unit, the kin-group and the caste. Orphaned children were very rarely abandoned. The belief that one's life in the present is the fruit of one's previous lives made it easier for people to accept children with handicaps. Children at the age of seven or eight years were placed under gurus and learned skills appropriate to their own caste occupations. In accordance with the general principles of the Constitution, the Government entered the area of child welfare in a significant way—providing institutions for handicapped and destitute children, initiating feeding programs, increasing the number of schools and improving health facilities.