India's Children Continue to Challenge our Conscience

Enakshi Ganguly - HAQ: Centre for Child Rights

In 2002, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights published its first Status Report on India’s Children titled “Children in Globalising India: Challenging Our Conscience”. This report, which is also the fifth in the series, reflects on how children and the realisation of their rights continue to challenge our conscience even today. The first status report was an edited volume and so is this one. This report includes chapters on child protection in India, children with disabilities, children's participation, and more.

The chapter on child protection (chapter 4) provides an overview and history of child protection policies in India and reviews the challenges still ahead. "Since the enactment of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, and the ICPS in 2009," says the report, "the need for a protective environment, for family support and strengthening, to shift away from institutional care, the addition of preventive interventions towards ensuring the safety and protection of all children began to make entry into government and civil society parlance presenting an opportunity to revamp, and envision an integrated and comprehensive child protection system. To achieve this requires assessment, investment, and thoughtful consideration of some issues."

The chapter includes recommendations for achieving child protection, including capacity-building for the child protection workforce, shifting from curative to preventative system, investing in village-level child protection committees, and more. The chapter also reviews funding dynamics and patterns for child protection and presents an Australian research report model of prevention interventions— universal or primary (for all children), secondary (targeted at those vulnerable or at risk), tertiary (for those already harmed).