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Child Protection Systems

Introduction

child protection systems
 
The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) was launched by the India’s national Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2009.

The intent of the scheme is to build a protective environment for all children in India, with a special focus on those who are the most vulnerable, such as unaccompanied children, child labourers, children living on streets and children affected by HIV.

The ICPS also seeks to establish a robust child protection system at all levels: national, state, district, sub-district and community.

Now in its fourth year, the ICPS is being implemented in a phased manner across all states. Broadly those phases include the following: 
 
 
The scheme has so far had a varied impact across states and, within states, also across districts. Indian government data shows it has reached out to about 170,000 children to date. India’s child population is nearly 40 million.

These 170,000 children are largely those cases that have been brought before Child Welfare Committees, which cater to children in need of care and protection, and Juvenile Justice Boards, which cater to children in conflict with the law. While the primary role of the child protection system is such responses, the core principle of ICPS is prevention, which has been lacking.

UNICEF In Action

UNICEF’s programme to support Child Protection Systems (CPSs) aims to strengthen the systems at national, state, district, and sub-district levels through the roll out of the ICPS; develop capacities of families, communities and service-providers; establish improved reporting and monitoring systems; and promote evidence-based policy advocacy.

Special attention is being given to establishing and strengthening community-based preventive CPSs. Enhancing the capacities of families and non-institutional alternative care will also be promoted to avoid unnecessary separation of children from their families.

Recognizing that children affected by HIV face stigmatization, denial of and delays in essential services, and a higher likelihood of being orphaned, the Child Protection programme is giving specific attention to the needs of these children, within the framework of the ICPS.

To achieve these aims, the key strategies are:
  1. Develop Human Resources for Child Protection – focusing on mid-level cadres:
  • Facilitate development of a framework for Child Protection social workforce development
  • Develop core trainer groups in states
  • Develop standardized training modules
  1. Improve quality of Child Protection Services
  • Set standards for services through Standard Operating Procedures, guidelines, pilot models of functional structures like Special Juvenile Police Units (SJPUs), Special Courts etc.
  • Enhance monitoring and supervision of ICPS, JJA and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POSCO) through the judiciary and Commissions for Protection of Child Rights
  • Strengthen medical sector’s capacity to respond to violence against children
  1. Community-based protection mechanisms
  • Support formation and strengthening of community based structures from village, block and district level
  • Support the synergy of structures with other community structures like Panchayati Raj Institutions, School Management Committees etc.
  • Build referral linkages with child protection services
  • Develop safe communities model in two cities
  1. Strengthen data systems for Child Protection
  • Create prototype and roll out on ICPS scorecard to advocate for greater investment in the quality of Child Protection Management Information Systems (CPMIS)
  • Generate, analyze and use data to advocate for policies and programmes to strengthen child protection systems