A Podcast by Catalysts for Social Action
With the launch of 20th year celebrations, Catalysts for Social Action brings to you Care of the State.Through weekly episodes, released every Tuesday, we will help you understand the plight of vulnerable children in India and the care and protection options available for them, including institutional care, fostering, adoption, and aftercare. We will also delve into the role of organisations, government institutions and their responsibility to provide care and protection to these children. Our team of experts from Catalysts for Social Action (CSA) will be talking to lawyers, researchers, NGOs and other experts from the space who will help you get a clear picture of the ground realities, the struggles, how the pandemic affected vulnerable children and what you can do to provide a safe environment for these children to grow and reintegrate into society.
Tune in to get a clearer understanding on:
- The overall situation of children growing up in difficult circumstances in India
- Need for quality institutional care and challenges
- Issues faced by care leavers
- Need for strengthening family and community-based care
- Adoption and foster care
Episode 1 | Vulnerable Children in India
Over 170 million children in India face situations of abuse, exploitation and neglect. This is caused by situations of poverty, social exclusion, drug addiction, sexual abuse, crime or they have been orphaned, or abandoned. So what happens to these vulnerable children? What kind of childhood can they look forward to? And as a country how do we look after them?
In this episode, our host – Satyajeet Mazumdar speaks to a former Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Madan Lokur and a child protection expert Ms. Arlene Manoharan, who helps us understand the plight of vulnerable children in India, the struggles they face and the authorities and systems in place to look after them.
Episode 2 | Institutional Care - Part 1
Institutional care is the largest safety network available today to the vulnerable children in India with over 256,000 children being taken care of in 7163 Child Care Institutions. In this episode we introduce you to Child Care Institutions, explore the crucial role they play in providing care and protection to these children and how they nurture them into adulthood. We examine the challenges faced by CCIs and try to imagine feasible solutions. Satyajeet Mazumdar, Head of Advocacy at Catalysts for Social Action talks to child protection experts, Priti Patkar, Co-founder and Director of Prerana, Dr. Nilima Mehta, Psychotherapist, Child Protection & Adoption Consultant and Anandhi Yagnaraman, CEO of CSA, who share their experiences of working with CCIs.
Episode 3 | Institutional Care - Part 2
A child care institution starts out with good intentions. However, that’s never enough. Most CCIs in India are struggling to provide the best child care under the burden of scarce resources, poor infrastructure, inadequate administrative capabilities as well as limited people who are willing to work and support this sector. Despite all the problems that plague them, children still call an institution, their ‘home’.
Satyajeet Mazumdar, Head of Advocacy at Catalysts for Social Action talks to Senior Program Manager of CSA, Madhya Pradesh branch, Deepesh Choukse and Assistant Secretary of Banabasi Seva Samiti, Odisha , Rabindra Panda, who shed light on the management of child care institutions, their funding issues, the dearth of resources and the relationship they have with the government.
Episode 4 - Aftercare - Part 1
A child coming from a vulnerable background is admitted into a child care institution. They start feeling safe and secure; they begin calling the institution their home. Little do they know that they need to leave this home on turning 18, and begin living their lives on their own. Preparing to integrate into society without any safety net of family or a home or adequate education or money or a job would be a challenge for anyone even if you had all those things. So, when these young people, whom we call careleavers exit the CCI, it’s important that they are not abandoned again.
To help us understand what happens to careleavers when they turn 18, Satyajeet Mazumdar, Head of Advocacy at Catalysts for Social Action talks to Gita Gopal, Founder of A Future for Every Child, Dr. Kiran Modi, Founder of Udayan Care and Vipul Jain, Founder of CSA who shed light on the reality of aftercare and what needs to change in the system
Episode 5 | Aftercare - Part 2
50,000 young people exit institutional care every year when they turn 18. Once they leave, many of them sadly fall off the radar and eventually become “nobody’s responsibility”. Despite aftercare being an integral part of the Juvenile Justice Act, in practice it remains overlooked and inadequate to a large extent.
Satyajeet Mazumdar, Head of Advocacy at Catalysts for Social Action talks to Vaishali & Suraj, two care leavers who talk about the ground realities they faced after they left a child care institution, and Bharathy Tahiliani, Founder of Kshamata, who helps us understand what it takes to successfully rehabilitate and reintegrate care leavers into the society.
Episode 6 - Adoption
Choosing to adopt a child is a huge decision. So, unlike what you see in the movies, a hero can’t pick up a random child from the street and raise them. You would need to follow a comprehensive legal process with measures set in place by the government to ensure the safety and stability of the child.
Anandhi Yagnaraman, CEO of Catalysts for Social Action, along with Smriti Gupta, Founder of Where Are India’s Children and Dr. Aloma Lobo, a pediatrician & counsellor by profession and the ex-chairperson of CARA and Adoption Coordinating Agency, Karnataka, delve into the subject in detail to understand the process an adoptive parent has to go through to take a child home, systemic challenges which exist, and the reason why there continues to be a stigma around adoption in India.
Episode 7 | Family Based Care
Child care institutions help provide the basic needs of a child – food, shelter, clothing, education and provide a safe space for those in situations of extreme risk. While they do their best to provide family-like care, it still isn’t really family.
On this episode of Care of the State, Satyajeet Mazumdar, Head of Advocacy at Catalysts for Social Action talks to Ian Anand Forber-Pratt, the Director of Global Advocacy for Children’s Emergency Relief International, about the different kinds of care options children have, apart from institutional care. Subhadeep Adhikary, Program Manager of Child Protection at the Jharkhand Unit of the Child in Need Institute, explains the importance of strengthening communities, and Dr. Shekhar Seshadri, Psychiatrist and professor of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in NIMHANS, lists out the effects of institutionalization on the minds of vulnerable children.
Episode 8 - Foster Care
More than 90% of the children who are ‘legally free for adoption’ are above the age of 5 years. Unfortunately, adoption is rare for these older children as there is a high demand by adoptive parents for children below the age of 2 years old. Which is where foster care becomes a more viable option for them. However, the system of foster care isn’t well-structured and different states in the country have different rules.
Satyajeet Mazumdar, Head of Advocacy at Catalysts for Social Action talks to Devashish Mishra, National Child Protection Consultant, Children’s Emergency Relief International, on the legal framework of foster care in India. Roselle Solomon, a member of the Child Welfare Committee in South Goa narrates her personal experience being a foster mother to a 21-year old daughter for the last 15 years.
Concept and Host: Satyajeet Mazumdar
Marketing & Communications: Henal Shah, Pranay Jajodia & Kinjal Mehta
Creative Team: Anuja Khokhani & Shahaji Patil
This is a Made in India production.
Writer & Project Manager: Vedha Susheela Mohan
Production Head & Editor: Joshua Thomas
Sound Mixing: Kartik Kulkarni
Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
Voiceover by Mae Mariyam Thomas