(ICPS) - A Centrally Sponsored Scheme of
Indian Government – Civil Society Partnership
By Malay Dewanji,
Hony. General Secretary, LAMP, India.
And President, FICE – India.
India is home to almost 19% of the world’s
children. More than one third of the
country’s population, around 440 million, is
below 18 years. India’s children are India’s
future as strength of the nation lies in a
healthy, protected, educated and welldeveloped child population that will grow
up to be productive citizens of the country.
India must invest resources in children
proportionate to their huge numbers.
An exercise on child budgeting carried out
by the Ministry of Women and Child
expenditure on children in 2005-2006 in
health, education, development and
protection together amounted to a mere
3.86%, rising to 4.91% in 2006-07. However,
the share of resources for child protection
was an abysmal low of 0.034% in 2005-06
and it remained the same in 2006-07.
It is estimated that around 170 million or
40 per cent of India’s children are
vulnerable to or experiencing difficult
circumstances. There is, therefore, an
urgent case for increasing expenditure on
child protection so that the rights of the
children of India are protected. The
neglect of child protection issues results
in outright violation of the rights of the
children and increases their vulnerability
to abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The Constitution of India recognizes the
vulnerable position of children and their
right to protection. Article 15 the
Constitution guarantees special attention
to children through necessary and special
laws and policies that safeguard their
rights. The Right to equality, protection of
life and personal liberty and the right
against exploitation is enshrined in Articles
14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 23 and 24.
The child rights and welfare concerns have
been addressed in a number of
International Conventions and Standards
on child protection including the UN
Convention of the Rights of the Child
(UNCRC) 1989, the UN Standard Minimum
Rules for the Administration of Juvenile
Justice (The Beijing Rules),
1985, the UN Rules for the Protection of
Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, 1990,
and the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, 1993. The Government
of India ratified the UN Convention on the
Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1992. The
Convention prescribes standards to be
adhered to by all State parties in securing
the best interest of the child.
It emphasizes social reintegration of child
victims, without resorting to judicial
proceedings. The UNCRC outlines the
fundamental rights of children, including
the right to be protected from economic
exploitation and harmful work, from all
forms of sexual exploitation and abuse,
and from physical or mental violence, as
well as ensuring that children will not be
separated from their family against their
India has adopted a number of laws and
formulated a range of policies to ensure
children’s protection and improvement in
their situation including, the Guardian and
Wards Act 1890, Factories Act 1948, Hindu
Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956,
Probation of Offenders Act 1958, Bombay
Prevention of Begging
Act 1959,
Orphanages and Other Charitable Homes
(Supervision and Control) Act 1960,
National Policy for Children 1974, Bonded
Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976, Child
Marriage and Restraint Act 1979, Immoral
Traffic Prevention Act 1986, Child Labour
(Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986,
National Policy on Education 1986,
Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs
and Psychotropic Substances Act 1987,
National Policy on Child Labour 1987, Infant
Milk Substitutes,
Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods
(Regulation of Production, Supply and
Distribution) Act 1992, National Nutrition
Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of
Misuse) Act 1994, Persons with Disabilities
(Equal Protection of Rights and Full
Participation) Act 2000, Juvenile Justice
(Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000,
National Health Policy 2002,
National Charter for Children 2004,
National Plan of Action for Children 2005
and Commissions for Protection of the
Rights of the Child, 2005.
However, these laws and policies promising
respect for child rights, their protection
and well being have not resulted in much
improvement in lives of millions of Indian
who continue to be deprived of their rights,
abused, exploited and taken away from
their families and communities. Scant
attention and feeble commitment to
resolving child protection problems have
resulted in poor implementation of these
laws and policies; meagre resources;
minimal infrastructure; inadequate services
in variety, quantity and quality; and
inadequate monitoring and evaluation.
‘Child Protection’ is about protecting
children from or against any perceived or
real danger or risk to their life, their
personhood and childhood. It is about
reducing their vulnerability to any kind of
harm and protecting them in harmful
situations. It is about ensuring that no child
falls out of the social security and safety net
and, those who do, receive necessary care,
protection and support so as to bring them
back into the safety net.
While protection is a right of every child,
some children are more vulnerable than
others and need special attention. The
Government recognizes these children as
characterized by their specific social,
economic and geo-political situations. In
addition to providing a safe environment for
these children, it is imperative to ensure that
all other children also remain protected.
Child protection is integrally linked to every
other right of the child. Failure to ensure
children’s right to protection adversely
affects all other rights of the child. Thus,
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
cannot be achieved unless child protection
is an integral part of programmes,
strategies and plans for their achievement.
Failure to protect children from issues such
as violence in schools,
Community level AIDS Intervention Programme,
Organised by LAMP and Dishari Mahila Samity
child labour, harmful traditional practices,
child marriage, child abuse, the absence of
parental care and commercial sexual
exploitation among others, means failure in
fulfilling both the Constitutional and
In light of its expanded mandate, the new
Ministry of Women and Child Development
views Child Protection as an essential
component of the country’s strategy to place
‘Development of the child at the centre of
the 11th Plan’.Violations of the child’s right
to protection, in addition to being human
rights violations, are massive, underrecognized and under-reported obstacles to
child survival and development. Failure to
protect children has serious consequences
for the physical,
development of the child, with
consequences of a loss in productivity and
quality of human capital for the nation.
The National Plan of Action for Children
2005 articulates the rights agenda for the
development of children. The NPAC 2005
is the basis for planning for children in the
Eleventh Plan
in all sectors and the principles articulated
in it should guide the planning and
investments for children. Such a
protection is required if India is to achieve
Millennium Development Goals. It is also
required that all budgets for child
protection services should be in the plan
category and not in the non-plan category.
The Ministry of Women and Child, is
committed to creating a solid foundation for
a protective environment for children. The
Ministry will strengthen prevention of the
child rights violation; enhance infrastructure
for protection services; increase access to a
wider range and better quality of services;
increase investment in child protection and
raise awareness of child rights and their
violation and the situation of India’s
National Mechanisms » Child Targeted
Schemes & Programmes » Integrated
Child Protection Scheme (ICPS)
In 2006 the Ministry of Women and Child
Development (MWCD) proposed the
adoption of the Integrated Child
Protection Scheme (ICPS). In 2009 the
central government take the scheme its
and has begun the extensive task of providing
children with a protection and safe
environment to develop and flourish. The
purpose of the scheme is to provide for
children in difficult circumstances, as well as
to reduce the risks and vulnerabilities
children have in various situations and
actions that lead to abuse, neglect,
exploitation, abandonment and separation of
The specific objectives of the scheme are:
•To institutionalize essential services and
strengthen structures
•To enhance capacities of all systems and
persons involved in service delivery
•To create database and knowledge base for
child protection services
•To strengthen child protection at family and
community level
•To coordinate and network with
nongovernment institutions to ensure effective
implementation of the scheme
•To raise public awareness about child
rights, child vulnerability and child
protection services.
According to the understanding of the
Government of India and civil society
organisations, the definition of vulnerable
children and their problems and related
issues are as follows:Vulnerable Children :
All children due to their age are considered
to be at risk for exploitation, abuse, violence
and neglect.
But vulnerability cannot be defined simply
by age. Though age is one component,
Vulnerability is also measured by the child's
capability for self-protection. The question
that arises is, are children capable of
protecting themselves. Can children provide
for their basic needs, defend against a
dangerous situation or even recognise a
dangerous situation is developing?
These questions call for a redefinition of the
concept of self-protection. A child's
vulnerability comes from various factors
that hinder a child's ability to function and
grow normally. Hence self-protection is
more about the ability of the child to lead a
healthy life within a child protection system;
the ability to protect themselves or get help
from people who can provide protection.
The term vulnerable children refer to an age
group that is considered at risk.
But vulnerability of children is further
compounded by the following factors:
•Age within age: Younger children, especially
those below the age of six, are much more
dependent on the protection system.
•Physical disabilities
•Mental disabilities
Convention of CSWs on Micro Finance and Livelihood
Development Programme through their Self-Help Groups,
at Ghutiary Shariff, 24 Pgs.(S).
•Provocative behaviours: due to ignorance
or misunderstanding of children's mental
health or behavioural problems, some
people can become irritated or frustrated
and hence lash out against children or
neglect them completely.
•Powerlessness: comes of the situations and
people that surround the children. If a child
is given the power by the state, family or
community to participate and fulfil their
own rights and responsibilities they are less
•Defencelessness: comes from the lack of
protection provided by the state or parents
or community. If there is no child abuse law
than how is a child suppose to defend
himself/herself against abuse.
•Passivity: due to situation or treatment of
the child. For example a child who is
enslaved or oppressed does not have the
ability to seek help or protection.
•Invisible: Children who the system doesn't
even recognise are highly vulnerable.
The Integrated Child Protection Scheme
(ICPS) like the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000
defines vulnerability in two categories:
children in need of care and protection and
children in conflict with law.
Children in need of care and protection is
defined as a child who :
•Doesn't have a home or shelter and no
means to obtain such an abode
•Resides with a person(s) who has
threatened to harm them and is likely to
carry out that threat, harmed other children
and hence is likely to kill, abuse or neglect
the child.
•Is mentally or physically handicapped, or
has an illness, terminal or incurable disease
and has no one to provide and care for
•Has a parent or guardian deemed unfit or
unable to take care of the child.
•Is an orphan, has no family to take care of
him/her, or is a runaway or missing child
whose parents cannot be located after a
reasonable search period.
•Is being or is likely to be sexual, mentally,
emotionally or physically abused, tortured or
•Is being trafficked
•Is being abused for unthinkable gains or
illegal activities.
•Is a victim of arm conflict, civil unrest or a
natural disaster
Children in conflict with law are juveniles
who have allegedly committed a crime
under the Indian Penal Code. The ICPS also
recognises a third category of children;
Child in contact with law. These children are
victims of or witnesses to crimes. ICPS lastly
outlines that vulnerable children groups
also include but are not limited to the
vulnerable families and families at risk,
children of socially excluded groups like
migrant families, families living in extreme
poverty, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes
and other backward classes, families
subjected to or affected by discrimination,
minorities, children infected and/or
affected by HIV/AIDS, orphans, child drug
abusers, children of substance abusers,
child beggars, trafficked or sexually
exploited children, children of prisoners,
and street and working children.
“UNICEF views vulnerable children as those
who are abused, exploited, and neglected.
Child protection is derived out of the duty to
respond to the needs of vulnerable groups of
children. UNICEF outlines the following groups
as vulnerable: Children subjected to violence,
Children in the midst of armed conflict,
Children associated with armed groups,
Children affected by HIV/AIDS, Children
without birth registration, Children engaged in
labour, Child engaged in marriage, Children in
Conflict with the Law,
Children without Parental Care, Children
used for commercial sexual exploitation,
Female children subjected to genital
mutilation / cutting, and Trafficked
Each of these groups and other
protection issues is discussed in the next
section: Children's Issues.
Vulnerable Children Related Issues:
Vulnerability of children leads to and is
further created by the socio-cultural,
socio political and socio-religious
situations they are in. A child who is
forced or born into a situation or
discriminated group is at risk for abuse,
neglect and exploitation.
The lack of a protection system either due
to mis-implementation of national laws
and programmes or the absence of
protection policies and legislation also
renders children vulnerable. Following is a
discussion of various protection issues
concerning children.
•Abuse and Violence
•Street Children
•Children Living with AIDS
•Child in Armed Conflict
•Girl Child
•Child Marriage
•Children with Disabilities
•Children affected by Substance Abuse
•Birth Registration
•Missing Children
•Children in Conflict with Law
•Child Labour
•Child Trafficking
•Children without Parental care
•Child Health and Nutrition
•Early Childhood (Children below six)
•Children of Schedule Caste and Schedule
Tribe Families
•Children in Poverty
Within care, support and rehabilitation
services the scheme will also provide
CHILDLINE services, open shelters for
children in need in urban and semi-urban
areas, offer family based solutions through
adoption and after-care services,
A unit meeting of SHISHU JAGAT
improve quality institutional services, and
general grant-in-aid for need based/
innovative interventions. Within statutory
support services the scheme calls for the
strengthening of CWCs, JJBs, SJPUs, as well
as seeing to the set up of these services in
each district. Beyond this ICPS also outlines
the need for human resource development
for strengthening counselling services,
training and capacity building, strengthening
the knowledge-base, conduct research
studies, create and manage a child tracking
system, carry out advocacy and public
education programmes, and monitoring and
evaluation of the scheme.
In order to ensure the objectives and
approaches of ICPS are met, the scheme also
calls for the establishment of new bodies
within a service delivery structure.
At the district level there would be :
•District Child Protection Society (DCPS)
•Sponsorship and Foster Care Approval
Committee (SFCAC)
•Block Level Child Protection Committee
•Village Level Child Protection Committee
At the state level there would be:
•State Child Protection Society (SCPS)
•State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA)
•State Child Protection Committee (SCPC)
•State Adoption Advisory Committee
Medical Check-up among street children of
At the regional level there would be:
•Child Protection Division in the four
Regional Centres of National Institute of
Public Cooperation and Child Development
•Four Regional Centres of CHILDLINE India
Foundation (CIF)
And lastly at the national level there
would be:
•Child Protection Division in the National
Institute of Public Cooperation and Child
Development (NIPCCD)
implementation plan. It discusses the need
of convergence of services to give the child
the integrated plan. This would be achieved
through coordination of all department and
ministries of the Union and State
organisations involved with the children.
However, in conclusion it should be
mentioned here that the scheme is finally
formulated by the Government of India
with some participations of the Civil Society
Organisations. But we on behalf of the
LAMP ( a National level Child Welfare
Award winning organisation of India ) opine
that the leadership of implementing the
said scheme must be provided by the
grassroots level organisations of the
children especially at risk themselves, which
would lead to subjective and active
participation and empowerment of the
In this context, civil society organisations
must ensure active involvement of the
especially at risk for giving
emphasis on “ Greater Participation of the
Children in their own well-being”.
This is a new direction of child-centred
upbringing in the modern urban settings
and today we, on behalf of the LAMP
developmental method of empowering
Children at risks of Kolkata under their
own leadership (“Shishu Jagat”), for their
care, protection and
development programmes.
Central Co-ordination Committee members of
SHISHU JAGAT with Social Workers of LAMP
The promise of integrated development
and empowerment of the Children at risks
under their own leadership has been made
into practice with many successful outputs
has been successfully
practicing developmental method of
children’s active and full participation and
leadership in their care, protection and
development programmes, under the
leadership of the “Shishu Jagat”.
The promise of Children’s active
participation and leadership in
undertaking their situational analysis,
integrated care, protection, development
and empowerment , facilitated by the
LAMP, has been successfully creating
socio-educational, cultural and political
space for the Children at risks, which may
be replicated anywhere in the World.
----------------:-------------Source: Government of India Websites,
Presented at the FICE Congress 2010, from
7th to 10th December, 2010, held at
Stellenbosch Town Hall, Stellenbosch ,
Western Cape , South Africa, by Shri
Malay Dewanji, Hony. General
Secretary, LAMP and President, FICEINDIA. Email: [email protected]
// [email protected]
For more information please contact –
66, Surya Sen Street, Kolkata – 700 009, INDIA.
 +91-33-2241-8496/7469 Fax: +91-33-22572966)
E-mail: [email protected] //
[email protected]
Website: and
Thank You

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