Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India

by Catalysts for Social Action
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Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Move Abandoned Children into Adoption in India
Introducing our Podcast series and logo
Introducing our Podcast series and logo
The following is a brief of the work which has taken place in the reporting period:
1. In continuation of our work in Madhya Pradesh to help vulnerable children and families in need of support to avail benefits of Government social welfare schemes, we organized a camp in the Indore district in which district child welfare authorities met close to 40 children and families identified by us from that particular area and reviewed their cases. As part of this project, we have completed the investigation of more than 150 cases of children and families in need of support in Madhya Pradesh and are following up with the authorities to provide them with support. There has, however, been little movement on the part of the Government authorities and we are still trying to figure out ways of getting these families linked with Government social welfare schemes by meeting different officials and responsible persons. We are now planning to simultaneously begin work on family and community strengthening in the state.
2. Together with a partner organization, we have taken up a pilot project for analyzing the case history of children residing in two of our partner child care institutions in Pune with the objective to identify children who can be potentially made legally free for adoption. In our experience of working with child care institutions, we have observed several cases of children who do not have contact with their parents / guardians but are still not considered for adoption because they have not been declared ‘legally free for adoption’ by the Child Welfare Committee. One reason for this is that the Child Welfare Committee does is unable to get information about such children, and this is the gap which we are trying to address through this pilot project.
As part of the pilot project, we are collecting information about reason for placement of children in the child care institution, information about their parents / guardians, and whether their parents / guardians have been in touch with them. Cases of children whose parents / guardians are not traceable or have not contacted them over more than a year are flagged for further investigation and if deemed fit, are produced before the district Child Welfare Committee. The Child Welfare Committee is then expected to carry out the process for declaring the child legally free for adoption if the case is considered fit by them. 
We have analysed the case history of close to 150 children till date and have identified around 15 children who can be made legally free for adoption. Their cases will be produced before the Child Welfare Committee after due investigation.
3. As part of our effort to create better awareness about children growing up in difficult situations and the care and protection mechanisms available to them from the Government as per law, we released an 8-episode podcast series called ‘Care of the State’. This series has been created to help common people understand the plight of vulnerable children in India. The show breaks down complex issues of institutional care, fostering, adoption, aftercare, the role of organisations and government institutions and their responsibility to provide care and protection to these children. In this show, we interviewed experts from the field of child protection and asked them questions about the legal framework, struggles, how the pandemic affected vulnerable children and what needs to be done to provide a safe environment for these children to grow and reintegrate into society. All episodes of the show are out now and  available for listening on http://csa.podlink.to/careofthestate.
Podcast series Poster
Podcast series Poster
Podcast series Poster 2
Podcast series Poster 2
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More than 1,00,000 children lost either or both their parents in the second wave of COVID-19 which was at its peak in India between April and July, 2021. News channels during this time was filled with information about children orphaned due to COVID. There were also reports of social media posts in which people were sharing information about such children and calling for their adoption, without realising that this is illegal and could put the child in danger of trafficking. 
In order to create awareness about the process of legal adoption and the right authority to report cases of children in difficult situations, we designed informational posters in local languages and shared them in our networks. We included our phone numbers as well in these posters for people to reach out for guidance. We received several calls for help on registering for support schemes announced by the Government for children and families who faced bereavement due to COVID. Our teams responded by sharing appropriate information and also facilitating the application to schemes in some cases. 
In the state of Goa, we along with 4 other organizations set up an isolation cum temporary care centre for children in partnership with the Women and Child Development Department of the state. This facility is intended to cater to the care needs of children whose both parents are infected by COVID and who do not have any one else to care for them while their parents are undergoing treatment.
We also conducted virtual COVID-preparedness trainings for CCIs and child welfare authorities in Odisha, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh together with our partners Aangan Trust and Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children. In addition to this, the following are few activities we conducted between May and August, 2021:
  1. We conducted a virtual master trainers training in Karnataka on vulnerability mapping in partnership with the Directorate of Child Protection the state. The masters trainers would conduct trainings for Anganwadi Workers across the state on child rights, child protection and adoption awareness using material shared by us.
  2. We are in the process of connecting children and families in need of support with Government social welfare schemes in Madhya Pradesh. These children and families had been identified by Anganwadi workers as part of our vulnerability mapping project in Madhya Pradesh. At present we are conducting social investigation of cases identified and sharing the information with district authorities for support.
  3. We are conducting virtual capacity building sessions for 2 Government run child care institutions in the district of Kondagaon, Chhattisgarh. The objective is to help them provide better care and services to children to children in their care.
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Team with MP Govt
Team with MP Govt
We submitted the report of our Vulnerability Mapping and Alternative Care Awareness Project to the Directorate of Child Protection, Government of Madhya Pradesh in February, 2021. We had trained almost 8000 Anganwadi Workers in 4 districts on child protection and alternative care as part of this pilot project (as mentioned in our previous report). The report was received well and we were asked to draft guidelines for a statewide vulnerability mapping project which would be conducted by the state in the coming weeks. The guidelines have been drafted and submitted by us. The Directorate of Child Protection, Government of Karnataka has also approached us to help them conduct a similar exercise.
India at present is facing a very difficult situation with lakhs of COVID cases being reported every day. There are reports of several children losing either or both of their parents due to COVID. There have also been cases of children not having any one to take care of them while the parents are admitted in the hospital due to COVID, or are involved in caring for others who are infected. Such children are at a risk of harm or trafficking unless they are provided with necessary support. We are presently mobilising resources and connecting with other organizations and networks to ensure information of such children are passed on to Childline and district child welfare authorities for appropriate action. There have also been reports of children who have lost both parents to COVID being offered for adoption without following necessary legal processes. We plan to create awareness posters and organise sessions on the process of legal adoption for general awareness.
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Catalysts for Social Action (CSA) partnered with the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD), Indore Division, Madhya Pradesh for a pilot project to train 8000 Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) in 4 districts of the Division with an objective of training AWWs to identify vulnerable children in their area and report them to appropriate authorities for necessary action. The pilot run was an eye-opener, with nearly 2000 children identified who were possibly in need of support, care, and protection. We conducted around 400 urgent investigations of children’s cases that needed immediate attention. This information will be submitted to the district authorities for action.

We also created a Video to increase awareness for the same.

You can view the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81QrICknKaE&t=4s

Links:

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Survey Highlights
Survey Highlights

In the last three months, post completion of our Anganwadi Worker trainings about which we mentioned in our previous report, we have been involved in collating and analysing information received from the Anganwadi Workers. Following their training, the Anganwadi Workers had conducted a survey in their respective local areas to identify children in need of support and protection. We received more than 2061 survey forms from the 4 districts where the project was implemented.

As of now, we have been able to do a detailed analysis data of one district, which is Indore. 650 cases of children said to be in need of care and protection were reported from this district, of which 293 were male and 357 were female. Most children were in the age group of less than 10 years followed by 11-15 years. 47% of the children lived with a single parent, whereas 30% lived with a relative and 16% lived with their parents. We did a preliminary inspection of the survey forms to identify cases which needed priority attention.

43 cases were such that the children who needed high priority support, whereas 74 were those of medium priority and 58 of low priority.

In the coming weeks, we plan to complete the analysis of data from each of the districts where the survey was conducted, and submit our report to the Government for action on identified cases.

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Organization Information

Catalysts for Social Action

Location: Ghatkopar West, Mumbai, India - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Catalysts4SA
Catalysts for Social Action
Henal Shah
Project Leader:
Henal Shah
Ghatkopar West, Mumbai, Maharashtra India

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