Smt. Arti Ahuja, IAS
Women and Child Development Departments
Government of Odisha
In last couple of months, we have visited number of Child Care Institutions in different districts and had a series of consultation with inmates, staff and various district level officials including member of Child Care Institutions. Based on our interaction, I feel that the following issues require attention and immediate action:
1. There are number of Child Care Institutions (CCIs) in the district which are not recognised under JJ Act. They are running without knowledge of the district administration and managing in their own. The Government has to take immediate steps to ensure that all CCIs in the district have to recognise under JJ Act in a time bound manner. The procedure and Guideline developed in this regard need to adhere strictly.
2. The information, skill and knowledge among the staff members of various CCIs on standard care guideline and its implications are negligible. The DCPU have to make sincere effort on building capacity of functionaries and facilitate to maintain standard care practices in all the institutions. A simple tool to monitor the standard care in institution will help to capture the information.
3. Numbers of Children heaving their biological parents are also staying in the institutions. There is no structured individual care plan is available for most of the children residing in various CCIs. The Government have to take necessary steps to initiate Di-institutionalisation process to identify and reunification/mainstream these children in family setup as per the ICPS mandate. Family strengthening with Sponsorship support programme under ICPS have to expedite in the district with necessary guideline.
4. In many cases children need of care and protection are entering CCIs without proper procedure and knowledge of CWCs. This is mandatory for all the CCIs to produce children before CWC and obtain necessary order. There is no proper gate keeping mechanism is exist in our state. Hence, Government is recommended to make necessary arrangements to introduce a proper gate keeping mechanism and train the functionaries accordingly.
5. Initiation of Aftercare Programme is an urgent need in our state. Many children leaving institutional care without any support and guidance. Most of the children living in institutional care have nowhere to go once they reach the age of 18 and are discharged from their institutions. In addition, as empirically observed, institutional life does not prepare children well for life outside an institution. There is a need to prepare these children to sustain them during the transition from institutional to independent life.
6. Last but not the least; Government is making efforts to bring various policy directions and guidelines time to time in regards to child protection. From the field it seems that this information’s are not properly percolate dawn in to the grassroots. In this regards, all Collector can play a role by taking periodic review of various child protection mechanism/programmes in the district. This simple activity will reduce the information and practice gap. Hence, the Government have to facilitate with necessary direction and tools so that Collectors can take this exercise with more structured way and captured information and progress.
We look forward to receiving an action taken report from your department within one month from receiving this letter and a continuing dialogue and engagement.