- To institutionalize essential services and strengthen structures for emergency outreach, institutional care, family and community based care, counselling and support services at the national, regional, state and district levels;
- To enhance capacities at all levels, of all functionaries including, administrators and service providers, members of allied systems including, local bodies, police, judiciary and other concerned departments of State Governments to undertake responsibilities under the ICPS;
- To create database and knowledge base for child protection services, including MIS and child tracking system in the country for effective implementation and monitoring of child protection services;
- Undertake research and documentation;
- To strengthen child protection at family and community level, create and promote preventive measures to protect children from situations of vulnerability, risk and abuse;
- To ensure appropriate inter-sectoral response at all levels, coordinate and network with all allied systems;
- To raise public awareness, educate public on child rights and protection on situation and vulnerabilities of children and families, on available child protection services, schemes and structures at all levels.
- Child protection, a primary responsibility of family, supported by community, government and civil society: It is important that respective roles are articulated clearly and understood by all parties in the effort to protect children. Government, both Central and State, has an obligation to ensure a range and a continuum of services at all levels.
- Loving and caring family, the best place for the child: Children are best cared for in their own families and have a right to family care and parenting by both parents.
- Privacy and Confidentiality: Children’s right to privacy and confidentiality should be protected through all the stages of service delivery.
- Non-stigmatization and non-discrimination: Each child irrespective of circumstances, as well as socio-economic, cultural, religious and ethnic background should be treated equally and in a dignified manner.
- Prevention and reduction of vulnerabilities, central to child protection outcomes: A major thrust of ICPS will be to strengthen the family capabilities to care for and protect the child.
- Institutionalization of children, the last resort: There is a need to shift the focus of interventions from an over reliance on institutionalization of children and move towards more family and community–based alternatives for care. Institutionalization should be used as a measure of last resort after all other options have been explored.
- Child centered planning and implementation: Planning and implementation of child protection policies and service delivery should be child centered at all levels, so as to ensure that the best interest of the child is protected.
- Technical excellence, code of conduct: Services for children at all levels and by all providers should be provided by skilled and professional staff, including a cadre of social workers, psychologists, care givers, members of statutory bodies and lawyers, adhering to an ethical and professional code of conduct.
- Flexible programming, responding to local individualised needs: Customized service delivery approach is required to respond to local needs.
- Good governance, accountability and responsibility: An efficient and effective child protection system requires transparent management and decision making, accountable and responsible individuals and institutions, performance reports at all service levels and all service providers made public, including for children themselves, through child-friendly reports.
- Prevention: Through an outreach program, the scheme would identify and support vulnerable families. Trained district level functionaries through effective networking and linkages with the Village and Block Level Child Protection Committees, ICDS functionaries, NGOs and local bodies would ensure convergence of services. Community capacities for protection and monitoring shall be strengthened and child protection concerns and safeguards shall be integrated in all sectors.
- Promotion of Family-based Care: The scheme would pursue a conscious shift to family-based care including sponsorship, kinship care, foster care and adoption. Periodic review of children in institutional care for restoration to families would also be undertaken.
- Financing: As a Centrally Sponsored Scheme financial assistance from the Central Government will be disbursed to the State Government/ UT Administration. The Central Government shall provide a predetermined percentage of the budgeted cost. The State/UT shall in turn provide grant-in-aid to voluntary organizations under the different components of the Scheme.
- Integrated service provision - range of services: Through an interface with various sectors, including health, education, judiciary, police, and labour, among others, the scheme would strive to integrate service provisions into a range of services to cater to the multiple needs of children in difficult circumstances.
- Continuum of services- a feasible care plan for each child: The services under the scheme will be provided on the basis of an individual care plan, established through professional assessment. The care plan must be periodically reviewed and accordingly adjusted. Adequate services should be available as long as the child is in need of care, including follow up.
- Community based service delivery: The scheme would endeavour to bring services closer to vulnerable children and families for increased access. Child care services should be available at community level integrated into a range of services with strong linkages to the PRIs and local government bodies.
- Decentralization and flexibility to focus on local needs: The scheme shall decentralize planning and implementation of child protection services at the State and District level based on needs. The allocation of human resource shall be based on protection service requirement for quality child protection services.
- Partnership Building and Community Empowerment: A key strategy for program development and implementation would be developing close working relationships, information sharing and strategy building between government structures, civil society organizations including corporate and communities.
- Quality care, standards for care and protection: All protection services, whether public or privately provided, should adhere to prescribed standards pertaining to physical infrastructure and human resource requirements, as well as protocols, methodological instructions and guidelines for services and operational manuals for functioning of statutory bodies.
- Building Capacities: In order to ensure professional child protection services at all levels, the scheme would undertake regular training and capacity building of all service providers and functionaries to equip and enhance their skills, sensitivities, knowledge on child rights and standards of care and protection. xi) Monitoring and Evaluation: The scheme would set up a child protection data management system to formulate and implement effective intervention strategies and monitor their outcomes. Regular evaluation of the programs and structures would be conducted and course correction would be undertaken.
- The ICPS will focus its activities on children in need of care and protection and children in conflict as defined under the JJ Act and with children who come in contact with the law, either as victim or as a witness or due to any other circumstance.
- The ICPS will also provide preventive, statutory and care and rehabilitation services to any other vulnerable child including, but not limited, to: children of potentially 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.
Government- Civil Society Partnership
In order to reach out to all children, in particular to those in difficult circumstances, the Ministry of Women and Child Development does not see child protection as the exclusive responsibility of the MWCD but stresses that other sectors have vital roles to play. Therefore, ICPS is implemented as a Government – Civil Society Partnership under the overarching direction and responsibility of the Central and State Governments. The Scheme is working closely with all stakeholders including government departments, the voluntary sector, community groups, academia and, most importantly, families and children to create protective environment for children in the country. Its holistic approach to child protection services and mechanisms is reflected in strong lateral linkages and complementary systems for vigilance, detection and response. The scheme visualizes a structure for providing services as well as monitoring and supervising the effective functioning of child protection system, involving:
- Government: Government of India (GOI) has shouldered the primary responsibility for the development and funding of the scheme as well as ensuring flexibility by cutting down rigid structures and norms. The GOI has created an integrated, live, web-based database on children accessing protection services including a web portal for missing children. The State Governments/UT Administrations are ensuring effective implementation of the scheme by quick devolution and utilisation of funds, managing the database of children, identifying the best professional talent on contractual basis and strengthening public-private partnerships.
- Civil society organizations & individuals:
- Voluntary sector: to provide vibrant, responsive and child friendly services for detection, counselling, care and rehabilitation for all children in need; to awareness raising, capacity development, innovations and monitoring. These shall be financially supported by the State.
- Research and training institutions: To carry out research on the situation of children in India and capacity building of existing human resource as well as support creation of a cadre of professionals.
- Media and advocacy groups: To promote rights of the child and child protection issues with sensitivity and sustain a media discourse on protection issues.
- Corporate sector: To partner with government and civil society initiatives under the scheme; financially support child protection initiatives; and contribute to Government efforts to improve the situation of children of India by adhering to the laws pertaining to child protection.
- Community groups and local leaders, volunteers, youth groups, families and children: To provide protective and conducive environment for children, to act as watchdog and monitor child protection services by inter-alia participating in the village and block level child protection committees.