Child Care Reform
India has the largest number of children living in residential care in the world. In total, over 9,500 Child Care Institutions (CCIs), also known as orphanages, house nearly 400,000 children. 1 India has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and is a signatory to UN Guidelines on Alternative Care and yet, between 80—90% of children have a living parent. Recently, there has been growing momentum in India to promote family-based care in the country.
Approach, Highlights and Accomplishments
Changing the Way We CareSM (CTWWC) India is focused on preventing the separation of children from their families and their institutionalization, using a family strengthening approach. This is implemented through collaboration with others, building the capacity of partners, data collection and knowledge sharing. CTWWC works primarily in the Indian State of Odisha.
Our initiative in India is currently much smaller relative to our other demonstration counties. However, additional funding could make a much greater impact for children and families. The CTWWC initiative works through a local partner in Odisha to:
- establish and strengthen community-level groups that make decisions about children’s care by setting up Village Child Protection Committees (VCPCs). VCPCs are community groups made up of service providers, community leaders and families who identify, plan, and act upon child protection risks in their villages.
- create awareness campaigns on the harmful impact of child separation and institutionalization.
- support local authorities and partners in developing a child protection plan that includes preventing child separation and institutionalization, taking into consideration the Covid-19-caused socio-economic fallout.
- promote family strengthening of at-risk families in collaboration with local district child protection providers.
- adapt our programming to serve children and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide virtual monitoring, food and cash assistance.
In addition, the CTWWC team works to:
- influence national policy and practice around children’s care through collaboration, engagement in working groups, and research.
- improve the capacity and sensitivity of those that work with children and families.
- support a compilation toolkit on emerging practices in care reform and contribute to research and policy discourse in collaboration with the India Alternative Care Network (IACN).
- engage with CCIs managed by faith-based communities and work to transition them to family support centers together with the existing church structure and government.
Strengthening Families During COVID-19 in India
When a tragic loss from COVID-19 left P. Sruti, a 28-year-old mother in India, and her two children without a father, her family faced financial uncertainty in the middle of their heartbreaking grief. P. Sruti was terrified she might have no alternative but to send her children to a Child Care Institution (CCI) – also referred to as an orphanage – so that they could have adequate food and shelter. P. Sruti was not alone in struggling to make this difficult decision, as millions of parents, grandparents and caregivers have been lost to COVID-19 in India. Read her story of resilience and learn how support from Changing the Way We Care (CTWWC), local partner ARUNA, and the Government of India allowed this family to rise above adversity and remain together.
READ THE FULL STORY
CTWWC India Achievements by the Numbers
- 3 round tables of experts have been convened to discuss best practices in working with vulnerable, abandoned, orphaned and at-risk children.
- 11 children have been reunified with their families with ongoing case management.
- 46 social service workers have been trained on concepts of alternative care, child abuse and exploitation, case management, deinstitutionalization, and barefoot counseling.i
- 208 child protection committee members have been trained on making decisions in the best interest of the child.
- 715 at-risk families can access available government services.
- 767 parents have been trained on good parenting skills and COVID-19-safe behavior.
- 1398 parents have been educated on the negative impacts of institutionalization.
- i Barefoot counselling is a community-based protection program focusing on home visitation, psycho-social support and protection-based awareness raising.
The designations employed and the presentation of the material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of CTWWC partners concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
Other Ways to Get Involved
Every child deserves a family and together we can Change the Way We Care by getting involved. There are many small ways YOU can make a difference!
Do you support an orphanage overseas? Did you know that by trying to do good you may unknowingly be supporting a harmful and growing industry? Contact us to learn how to you can change the way YOU care.