We strongly believe in working with and strengthening existing governmental systems, with children and adults alike to build a cohesive, protective environment for children.
The Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection) Act, 2015 mandates that every institution and system be child friendly. Section 2 (15) defines child friendly as “any behaviour, conduct, practice, process, attitude, environment or treatment that is humane, considerate and in the best interest of the child”.
We are working with government systems and communities to operationalise this concept of ‘child-friendly’ in a way where it brings about changes not just in physical infrastructure but in all aspects mentioned in the law. It is essential that the approach of each system is ‘child-centric’ and we are developing methods and practices to achieve that.
Child Friendly Police
Along with the Maharashtra Home Department and Juvenile Justice High Court Committee (Bombay), we are working on the concept of ‘child-friendly police’ with great support from six city police stations and two railway police stations in Mumbai City @
- Tardeo Police Station
- Nagpada Police Station
- Agripada Police Station
- Byculla Police Station
- Kalachowky Police Station
- Bhoiwada Police Station
- Mumbai Central Railway Police Station
- Dadar Railway Police Station
The police are most often the first contact or first responder (among the formal protection systems) for a child whether s/he is a victim-survivor or a child who is in conflict with the law. The police play a crucial and important role in achieving safety and justice for the child.
We engage with police through in-police station capacity building and one-to-one sessions with all ranks of officials. Our aim is to sensitise, update legal and procedural knowledge and also understand the challenges faced by the police in implementation of the law.
We support the police in all types of child rights’ violation cases and we also undertake follow-up of cases in the community as per need. Apart from this, we also contribute in their community engagement programs like Police Didi program for schools, Mohalla Committee meetings and co-conduct awareness sessions in the community.
We have created a number of resources for the police in Marathi. We recently presented about the concept and the work done so far at the State Conference organised by the High Court Juvenile Justice Monitoring Committee.
Child Friendly Communities
Presently, we are focussing on certain sensitive areas in the jurisdiction of our six police stations. We aim to build a child friendly environment in the communities by working with the children, parents and important stakeholders like hospitals, nagarsevaks, anganwadi tais, festive mandals, community associations etc. through awareness sessions and meetings.
We are also facilitating the process of establishing ‘Ward Child Protection Committees’ (Read Maharashtra Government GR dated 2014). We have prepared a guide for the same in Marathi that has been endorsed and adopted by the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD).
We strongly believe in child protection with child participation. We are facilitating the formation of ‘Bal Bharti’ groups (Children’s groups) in Mumbai.
शाळा सुरक्षित तर मुल सुरक्षित
(A Safe School means a Safe Child!)
We take sessions on child rights and child protection with students, teachers and parents of the school covering various topics including, but not limited to, child abuse. We are also working towards hand-holding school management and staff to bring child rights ‘in the ecosystem’ of the school as this will ensure long-lasting change, even if the process initially would be extremely slow.
We recently also supported the Maharashtra Government and MSCPCR in launching the state wide ‘Raksha Abhiyan’ which aims to create ‘Zero Violence schools’.
Strengthening Child Protection Systems
Integrated Child Protection Services (ICPS) implementation has not been very smooth in the state mainly due to delays in staffing and the SJPU has not been harmonized with the child protection system. The Government of Maharashtra seeks to accelerate the implementation of ICPS. This project aims to address the need for strengthening systems that prevent family separation and institutionalisation through family/community care and improve gatekeeping by CWCs. Advocacy will be used to generate support towards family care especially in the context of migration and tribal ashram schools for children falling under the purview of the RTE. It will do this by building partnerships with CSOs, CBOs, academic institutions and government. We aim to demonstrate the implementation of ICPS.
The project will also focus on prevention and response to child marriage and migration in the two districts of Solapur, and Nandurbar. Both districts have high rates of child marriage, child migration and malnutrition.