Our vision is of a nation that cares and protects its children in need of care
and protection and ensures that each one is nurtured into a happy and
contributing member of society. We act as catalysts to achieve this vision. We
inspire and channelize action to bring about sustainable social change to have
a brighter future for the children in institutional care.
India is home to approximately 30 million children in need of care and
protection, probably the highest in the world. Most of these children struggle
to survive and very often end up being trafficked or pushed into child labour or
illegal works. We often see them on the streets, begging, but there are many
more that we do not see, they are equally vulnerable. It is the role of
stakeholders like NGOs, Anganwadi workers, police and even society at large
to identify children who are vulnerable and move them to either an adoption
agency or a child care home.
Less than 3% of vulnerable children – an estimated 2500 children in adoption
agencies and 3,70,000 live in Child Care Institutions across the country.
Clearly many more vulnerable children at risk continue to be “outside the
system”, probably because of the lack of awareness among society at large
and the quality of institutional care. Awareness and sensitivity of the plight of
children under institutional care and vulnerable children is the first area of
social action for CSA.
Next, how well are we taking care of children that have reached a Child Care
Institute? It is universally agreed that adoption is the best form of child
rehabilitation, and every eligible child should be given the opportunity to have
a loving and caring family. However many children who could be with a family
are languishing in child care institutions. The number of adoptions could be
doubled if all eligible children in child care institutions are moved to the
adoption stream. This is the next area of social action for CSA.
Where adoption is not possible, the child should be brought-up in a well-run
Child Care Institution. There are over 9500 Child Care Institutions in the
country with an estimated 3.7 Lakh children. They can become caring and
nurturing child homes. These children are in a protected environment and
therefore it should not be difficult to transform their lives in a very positive
manner. Sadly, with few exceptions, the reality is different and in most cases
the quality of child care and educational outcomes is poor. Transforming the
condition of existing child care institutions creates a huge opportunity for
After the child turns 18 years of age, he/she has to leave the institution and
fend for themselves. They are not yet ready for independent living and a
decent career. Thus, they continue to be in the cycle of poverty and
deprivation. However, with some support and mentoring, children can be
empowered to become happy and contributing members of society. This “last
mile” is another crucial area where social change is required.
The government has a big role to play in the case of vulnerable children in
institutional care. While the laws and schemes are in place, the implementation
is poor. The result is lengthy adoption procedures, poor oversight of child care
institutions, and wastage of government funds. Advocacy and working with
the government is clearly an important action to create a scalable and
sustainable social impact.