on the details of
Coalition for Child Rights to Protection (CCRP) initiative is an attempt to create a synergy by linking the organisations working in institutions to evolve standards of quality care – an area that remained outside the purview of ‘children in difficult circumstances’. It was also an attempt to collectively advocate for promotion of alternative care – trying to look at institutionalization as the last resort where family or parental care was not in the best interest of the children. Basundhara has been engaged with this initiative almost since 1985. In order to cater to the segment of vulnerable children and women, they started running an institution for the rehabilitation of children. The organisation in due course understood the need for finding ways of deinstitutionalizing. Finding alternative care for children in institutional setups through adoption resulted in the team working in the field of adoption.
It also entailed working with the Juvenile Justice (JJ) system in the state of Odisha and advocacy with the government to herald in the state rules for implementation of child rights. The team has also been able to mobilize people from various walks of life in engaging them to advocate for child rights. The organisation has earned repute in the field of child protection from the government. Constant advocacy has paved way to the government taking cognizance of team’s opinion while framing policies on children. Basundhara is also a nodal for Childline. The expansion of the program has been in accordance to the team’s vision and objectives. The project holder, Ms. Saila Behera, is an eminent personality in the field of child protection in Odisha.
Odisha continues to be the poorest state in India since the past 25 years. The incidence of poverty is more in the northern and southern regions of the State. It is higher among the scheduled tribes as compared to scheduled castes and general castes. Though the state government has undertaken a number of welfare programs like Antodoya Anna Yojna, Annapurna Anna Yojna,Integrated Child Development Centers (ICDS), Mid Day Meal program, Food for Work, National Family Benefit Scheme, National Old Age Pension Scheme, Widow Pension Scheme, National Disabled Pension Scheme and Balika Samridhi Yojna, these have failed to deliver the desired results. In respect to the situation of child rights, 4% of the children aged 5-14 years are engaged in labor. Prevalence of girl child in the unorganized sector (bidi industry) is highest at 68% followed by non-ferrous metallurgical industries at 64.4% and 57.1% are in jobs which require them to carry excessive weights of more than 13 kgs. There is also an occurrence of sexual exploitation and trafficking in this region.
In 30 districts, Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and Child Welfare Centre (CWC) have been constituted – however only a few of them are functional. Neither does any mechanism for monitoring the functioning of JJBs and CWCs exist in the state. In urban areas, Children in Need of Care and Protection (CNCP) & Children in Conflict with Law (CCL) category children mostly reside in slums. The team has identified the problem as a need for mapping the exact situation of children in slums and designing appropriate interventions to bring such children under the fold of this intervention. In this context the team is working to redress child rights violations through the child care institution services, outreach and non-institutional services, legal aid services and initiatives for empowering deprived women in addition to strengthening the core area of quality institutional care and alternatives for children focusing on adoption.
- Facilitating proper implementation of Juvenile Justice System in the state through activation of Child Welfare Committee in 10 districts.
- To ensure effective implementation of Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) in 10 districts with focus on activation of District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) under the ICPS program.
- Improving quality of service in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) and promoting deinstitutionalization.
- Preventing institutionalization of children & social reintegration through deinstitutionalization.
Achievements & Impact in the Review Period
One of the focus areas of the intervention is to work on strengthening the Juvenile Justice Board and Child Welfare Committees in the state as per strategy. Regular functioning of (Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and Child Welfare Committee (CWC) is noticeable in 6 districts – Bolangir, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Dhenkanal and Kandhamal in comparison to rest of the districts. Some of the highlights from last year are:
- Orientation/Training has been imparted to most Child Welfare Committee (CWC) members in the 10 members’ districts.
- 23 child laborers were rescued and after due process through CWC and District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) restored with their family inside and outside of the state.
- 26 children from railway platforms rescued and 16 sent to de-addiction centre after joint intervention of the team/DCPU/CWC and ChildLine.
- 4 trafficked children of Keonjhar rescued from the running train at Cuttack railway station with DCPU and were restored with their parents.
- 4 child marriages stopped after joint intervention of ChildLine/Basundhara/DALSA/ DCPU/CWC/Police.
- Case filed before Orissa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR) on violation of a rights of a child who was a victim of sexual abuse.
- Participated in National Meet on Adoption-2015 and raised issues related to adoption and role of different stakeholders and new guidelines in the framework of Juvenile Justice Act.
Basundhara, with support from CRY will work as a resource organization while the team’s past experience will add value in making different structures under the Juvenile Justice Act functional, with 2 major focus areas:
a) ICPS being the tool to operationalise the JJ system, CCRP will focus on activation of child protection committees at Gram Panchayat (GP) and district level with an aim to create a safety net for the children who are vulnerable at village level, and
b) CCRP will continue to work on activation of Child Welfare Committee (CWCs) (which plays the most crucial role in the entire protection right ambit) by working more closely with them and making them functional in terms of building capacity and following up on cases being handled and disposed of by CWCs particularly in 8 districts.
The broad plans are as follows:
- Ensuring full member CWC bench in all 8 districts.
- Collection and collation of cases handled by CWC in last 1 year to assess nature of cases, redressal mechanism (institutional/non-institutional).
- Ensuring physical infrastructure is available for CWC sitting.
- Strengthening of 24 Gram Panchayat level Child Protection Committees (on roles & responsibilities).
- To establish preventive mechanism for vulnerable children and families by ensuring formation and capacity building of panchayat level child protection committees (PLCPC’s).
- Convergence with DCPU for identification and linkage of vulnerable families.
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