In India, the national Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) envisions the formation of official Village Level Child Protection Committees (CPC) to create a protective environment for children. However, the CPCs in the areas where our partner CARE is working only existed on paper, and they were not actually functioning. CARE decided that the sustainability of the community freedom groups formed under the Freedom Fund’s southern India hotspot would increase if these CPCs were alive and actively working to address the issues of adolescents.
CARE resolved to work with the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) to sensitise the members of the committees. CARE and the DCPU organised a five-day intensive training and members of the committees, including the Village Administrative Officer, teachers, police and Village Health Nurse, participated in the training. CARE was determined to activate the CPCs and ensure their success. Because of the efforts of CARE and particularly the field staff, CPCs are now functional in six village council areas.
CARE staff help these committees to follow up on their resolutions, and this has encouraged local residents to speak openly and take bold action to protect their children. In only three months, communities stopped six child marriages and reported cases of suspected child abuse. Staff from CARE supports the community and CPCs, for example, linking them with Childline, a telephone helpline, and police when required. Through the influence of the CPCs, there has been a change in the attitude of the community towards protecting children from all forms of violence and abuse.
CARE’s success in activating the CPCs, preventing child marriages, promoting community freedom groups and raising community concerns has been noticed by the district administration. As a result, it has appointed three staff as members of the District Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). CARE is hopeful that these changes at the micro level will continue to inspire and activate the district level child protection system.
The Freedom Fund’s southern India hotspot helps reduce bonded labour in textiles, especially among girls and young women working in spinning mills and garment factories. Find out more about our program.
Photo credit: Ginny Baumann/The Freedom Fund