Right to protection is one of the four major child rights prescribed in the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on Rights of Children). Foundation for Development Action have been working with children and adolescents under two different projects.
Children are gems that need to be nurtured, mentored, and protected from all sorts of violence, exploitation and abuse. Ensuring physical, mental, emotional and intellectual development is key to their holistic growth and development. However, child sexual abuse and neglect are major concerns affecting one out of eight children globally and having a profound emotional and physical impact on children regardless of age when the trauma occurs, leading to consequences like anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anti-social behaviour and suicide. The international community has acknowledged the urgent need to do more to protect children in the vulnerable scenario. India ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992 and has enacted several lews to stop abuse and violence against children. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN Member States in 2015 represent the aspiration of the global community that necessitates achieving progress across social, economic, and environmental pillars. Goal 16 of SDG – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions highlights ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.
India is home to 472 million children (39% of the national population) in the age category 9–18, years of which a major part, around 158 million, consists of children in the age group of 0–6 years (2011 Census). An analysis of data on child abuse and exploitation in the state of Kerala in the past five years has shown an upward trend. To prevent the incidence of child abuse and exploitation, the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD), Government of Kerala, in December 2020, launched an innovative programme named KAVAL PLUS focusing on children in need of care and protection (CNCP) and the survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). Both these projects work at the individual and families by extending psychosocial care & support services and other environmental modifications interventions such as; individual and family counselling, parent management training, life skill training, advocacy, crisis intervention for rehabilitating and reintegrating children back to family and to the society at large. The programme adopts a multisectoral partnership approach wherein stakeholders working with children in government as well as in the non-governmental sectors join hands to play a significant role in supporting vulnerable children. We are partnering with the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD), Govt. of Kerala, Child Welfare Committee (CWC), District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), Thiruvananthapuram and Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) for this noble cause.
Foundation for Development Action (FDA) had initially partnered with Social Justice Department (SJD), Government of Kerala (GoK) for providing psychosocial care and protection to Children in Conflict with Law, with technical assistance from National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru. The project was officially launched in February 2017 by giving it a new Malayalam name called “KAVAL”, which literary mean “Guard”. In Thiruvananthapuram, Kaval project was started in September 2016 whereas in Pathanamthitta it was in January 2018. Post November 2017, KAVAL project was transferred to The Women & Child Development Department, GoK.
As supporting NGO, FDA is reaching out to children in their own communities and are providing numerous services for behavioural modification through counselling, life skill education and group work exercises. Other support services include; de-addiction treatment at Vimukti Centre run by Excise Department; legal services through linking with judicial system; vocational education & skilling service through networking with various departments, agencies and national flagship programmes.
Services for a child is determined based on the Individual Care Plan (ICP) which is prepared after a series of consultation and counselling sessions with children as well as their parents. FDA acknowledges that providing services alone to children will hardly yield intended results, hence focus is also given to parents by providing them training on ‘Parenting’, ‘Guidance’ and ‘Counselling’. The combination of these services will equip children to consistently move toward towards a new dawn and will help to mainstream them into the society as responsible citizens.
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