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Community Based Child Protection

The economic crisis, long closure of schools and suspension of the services of child protection during the pandemic period left children most vulnerable across the country.  Particularly in the state of West Bengal and Jharkhand rampant increase in the rate of early marriage, teenage pregnancy, child trafficking and child labour has been observed. When the state child protection system is failing to protect the children there is a need of robust Community based Child Protection System to be taken on in mission mode under the leadership local youth and women along with community based institutions such as Panchayat and Schools.

SPAN is focussing on facilitating leadership among local youth and women in every villages of its operational area through formation of Youth and women councils. Selected Youth council leaders are mobilised and trained as CHILD RIGHTS DEFENDERS. Child Right Defenders are capacitated on the functional and operational areas of state child protection system which includes Integrated Child Protection System / Mission Vatsalya and all its local level provisions and services.

Child Rights Defenders along with local youth councils organise orientation of school Teachers, Students, Panchayat members, Village/Ward Child Protection Committees on the issue of Child Protection. Child rights defenders regularly track the children of their respective villages through Home visit, JEEVAN-PATH sessions in schools, PATH-O-CHAKRA sessions in school, and Children Group/Child Club Meeting at Schools and community. Information or identification of the cases of Child Labour, Missing children, Child Abuse, Child Marriage is done through this process.

Village or Ward level Child Protection committee or Panchayat/Municipal Counsellor are informed about the cases of unprotected children by the Child Rights Defender and the case take on immediately for further rescue and rehabilitation action. The Police, Block Welfare Officer, School Teachers are informed about the cases as per requirement to take necessary action. The local youth councils through Child rights defenders follow up the cases.

Child Rights Defenders along with Youth Councils and Women councils will organise awareness and orientation Program on the issue of child protection in the community as well as with Panchayat members, school students, ASHA Workers, Anganwadi Workers and other local level stake holders.

SPAN find its role in capacity building of Youth councils and Child Rights Defenders as well as facilitating convergence of stakeholders at block and district level connecting local Child Rights Defenders and Youth Councils with Child Welfare Committee, District Child Protection Unite, Block Level Child Protection Committee, Police and Special Juvenile Police Unit, etc. for ensuring the harmony in functioning between the district/block level and local level child protection system.

Developing Community based Child Protection System in 50 Villages of Kalimpong Districts : Students and teachers from 13 High schools, 50 Youth volunteers, Member of 10 Gram Panchayat were oriented on the issue of child protection focussing prevention of child marriage, teenage pregnancy and child sexual abuse. Youth councils are in process of formulation in these villages while regular tracking of children are going on through local youth volunteers. Orientation of VLCPC members on child protection issues is in progress. Regular awareness on prevention of early marriages were going on while 60,000 local people has taken formal pledges against child marriage.

Developing Community based Child Protection System in 25 Tea Gardens of Jalpaiguri Districts : Local Youth councils and selected 25 youth leaders were oriented and trained on the issue of child protection and state child protection system. They have taken lead role in formation of Village Level Child Protection Committees in different villages. They are in process of regular tracking of children through JEEVAN-PATH sessions in schools and children group Sessions. They have identified 400 cases of Child trafficking in last 5 Years in 80 percent of cases they were able to push forward the process of rescue, rehabilitation and follow up.

Developing Community based Child Protection System in 10 urban Slums of Kolkata: SPAN could able to engage 10 Youth leaders who identified 150 child labourers from the slum areas of 7 wards of Kolkata Municipal Corporation. Youth and women councils are in process of formulation in these slums while the local schools are also connected with the process. SPAN also ahave taken initiative in formation of Ward Level Child Protection Committees in these slums along with the District Child Protection Unit of Kolkata.