Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said on Wednesday her ministry will formulate guidelines for children’s hostels, prescribing minimum standards of care, including safety and periodic inspections, PTI reported.

Gandhi said that children staying at hostels, including school hostels, are as “vulnerable” as those at other facilities like shelter homes or day care centres. “Therefore, we decided to formulate a set of guidelines to ensure adequate safety, minimum standard of living conditions and periodic inspections of hostels,” she added.

The Women and Child Development Ministry has asked the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to draft these guidelines, and these will be notified under the Juvenile Justice Act (Care and Protection of Children), 2015, Gandhi said. The ministry will share the guidelines with the Ministry of Human Resource Development for dissemination to boarding schools, she added.

There have been several cases of alleged child abuse at shelter homes this year, most notably in Muzaffarpur in Bihar. On Tuesday, the Odisha Police had taken the managing director of a non-governmental organisation on two-day remand in connection with the alleged sexual harassment of minor girls at a shelter home in Dhenkanal district.