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Demographic Situation


Kerala has around 40.37 lakh children, that is, 13% of Kerala’s population, who are below the age of 6 years. A large number of them live in economic and social environment which impedes the child’s physical and mental development. These conditions include poverty, poor environmental sanitation, proneness to disease, infection, inadequate access to primary health care, inappropriate child care and feeding practices. Government of India proclaimed a National Policy on Children in August 1974 declaring children a, “supremely important asset”. The policy provided the required frame work for assigning priority to different needs of the child. The programme of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme was launched in 1975 seeking to provide an integrated package of services in a convergent manner for the holistic development of the child.

Constitutional Provisions
 There are several constitutional provisions for children.  These include the following.

  • Article 14 provides that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
  • Article 15(3) provides that, “Nothing in this article shall prevent the State for making any special provision for women and children.”
  • Article 21 provides that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
  • Article 21A directs the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.
  • Article 23 prohibits trafficking of human beings and forced labour.
  • Article 24 prohibits employment of children below the age of fourteen years in factories, mines or any other hazardous occupation.
  • Article 25-28 provides freedom of conscience, and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. 
  • Article 39(e) and (f) provide that the State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing to ensure that the health and strength of workers, men and women and the tender age of children are not abused and that the citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength and that the children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that the childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
  • Article 45 envisages that the State shall endeavor to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.

Legislations
There are several Legislations pertaining to children.  These include the following.

Orphanages & Other Charitable Home (Supervision & Control) Act, 1960
The Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000
The Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2006
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
The Guardian and Wards Act, 1890.
The Hindu Adoption & Maintenance Act 1956 (HAMA)
The Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005

POLICIES


The National Policy for Children was adopted on 22nd Aug.,1974.  This Policy lays down that the State shall provide adequate services towards children, both before and after birth and during the growing stages for their full physical, mental and social development.  The measures suggested include amongst others, a comprehensive health programme, supplementary nutrition for mothers and children, free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14 years, promotion of physical education and recreational activities, special consideration for children of weaker sections like SCs and STs, prevention of exploitation of children, etc.

The Government of India adopted the National Charter for Children which has been prepared after obtaining the views/comments and suggestions of the State Governments/UT Administrations, concerned Ministries and Departments and experts in the field.  The National Charter is a statement of intent embodying the Government’s agenda for Children.  The document emphasizes Government of India’s commitment to children’s rights to survival, health and nutrition, standard of living, play and leisure, early childhood care, education, protection of the girl child, empowering adolescents, equality, life and liberty, name and nationality, freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, the right to a family and the right to be protected from economic exploitation and all forms of abuse. The document also provides for protection of children in difficult circumstances, children with disabilities, children from marginalised and disadvantaged communities, and child victims. The document while stipulating the duties of the State and the Community towards children also emphasizes the duties of children towards family, society and the Nation.  The National Charter for Children was notified in the Gazette of India on 9th Feb., 2004.

India acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 11th Dec., 1992 to reiterate its commitment to the cause of children.  The objective of the Convention is to give every child the right to survival and development in a healthy and congenial environment.

India is also party to the Millennium Development Goals and the SAARC Conventions on Child Welfare and Combating Trafficking of Women and Children in SAARC Region.

National Plan of Action for Children 2005 M/o of Women and Child Development has prepared a National Plan of Action for Children 2005 after harmonizing the goals for children set in the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children held in 2002 and the monitorable targets set in the Tenth Five Year Plan, and goals for children in related Ministries/Departments.  The Action Plan has been prepared in consultation with concerned Ministries and Departments, States/Union territory Governments, Non Governmental Organizations and experts.  The National Plan of Action includes goals, objectives, strategies and activities for improving nutritional status of children, reducing IMR and MMR, increasing enrolment ratio and reducing dropout rates, universalization of primary education, increasing coverage for immunization etc. The Prime Minister’s Office is quarterly monitoring the National Plan of Action for Children 2005 on the basis of eight parameters. 

These are as under:

  1. Reduce IMR to below 30 per 1000 live births by 2010.
  2. Reduce Child Mortality Rate to below 31 per 1000 live births by 2010.
  3. To reduce Maternal Mortality Rate to below 100 per 100,000 live births by 2010.
  4. Universal equitable access and use of safe drinking water and improved access to sanitary means of excreta disposal by 2010.
  5. 100% rural population to have access to basic sanitation by 2012.
  6. To eliminate child marriages by 2010
  7. To eliminate disability due to poliomyelitis by 2007
  8. To reduce the proportion of infants infected with HIV by 20 percent by 2007 and by 50 percent by 2010, by ensuring that 80 per cent of pregnant women have access to ante natal care, and 95 per cent of men and women aged 15-24 have access to care, counseling and other HIV and prevention services.

Schemes/Projects

Adoption


The state government have approved and declared the state policy, i.e., State Plan of Action for the Child in Kerala 2004 and reiterated its commitment to children. The major activities proposed are; (i)to establish baby cradle centres (Amma Thottils) in four district hospitals i.e., Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Idukki and Kottayam; (ii) strengthen/organize adoptive parents organization in all districts and organize district level and state level get-together conferences of adoptive parents, adoptive children and other stakeholders; (iii) adoption awareness programme in each district by involving state departments such as Local Self Governments, Revenue, Police, Social Welfare, Health, NGOs and other stakeholders; (iv)minimum standards of services and procedures for adoption placement agencies and minimum standards of services for all functionaries will be developed with the help of expert academic institutions.

More Info :

Details on adoption of children as in-country and inter-country under Juvenile Justice Law from 2002-03 to 2009-10 are given below:

Adoption of Children in Kerala – 2002-03 to 2009 – 10

Year In-country Adoption Inter-country Adoption
Male Female Total Male Female Total
2002-03 125 136 261 12 19 31
2003-04 134 152 286 10 10 20
2004-05 115 104 219 12 13 25
2005-06 119 147 266 15 16 31
2006-07 114 132 246 14 17 31
2007-08 183 10 184 9 13 22
2008-09 49 41 90 6 6 12
2009-10 (upto 30-09-09) 30 24 54 5 5 10

Adoption has always been considered a wonderful opportunity to provide the child with home and the parents a child.  It offers an excellent alternative to institutional care for an abandoned, destitute or neglected child in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding which only a family can provide.  More...

PROFILE OF ADOPTION CO-ORDINATING AGENCY -KERALA
Head Office
Rajagiri College of Social Sciences
RajagiriP.O, Kalamassery-683104
Cochin, Kerala.
Ph–0484–2540727
Email : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Childline India Foundation (CIF) has been set up as a nodal organization, supported by Government of India, to monitor and ensure the qualitative development of the Childline service across the country.  Childline is a toll free telephone service(1098) which anyone can call for assistance in the interest of children.  It has prescribed minimum quality standards for the services to be provided by its partner organizations that are implementing Childline programmes in various cities of the country. It initiates preparatory activity that precedes the initiation of Childline service in any city.  CIF is also involved in awareness and advocacy in order to strengthen the efforts relating to child welfare.

The objective of the Shishu Greh Scheme is to promote adoptions within the country and to ensure minimum standards in the care of abandoned/orphaned/destitute children. Grant-in-Aid upto a ceiling of Rs.6 lakh has been provided per unit of 10 children in a Shishu Greh.

RECENT INITIATIVES


The Commissions for Protection of the Child Rights Act 2005 The Government has recently notified the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act 2005 in the Gazette of India on 20th Jan., 2006 as Act No.4 of 2006. The Act envisages setting up a National Commission at the National level and the State Commissions at the State level. The proposed Commission would be set up for proper enforcement of children’s rights and effective implementation of laws and programmes relating to children.  The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights will be a statutory body to be set up under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act. The proposed Commission will have a Chairperson and six other Members, including two women members, a Member Secretary and other supporting staff. The Chairperson would be a person of eminence in the field of child development. The members would be the experts in the field of child health, education, child care and development, juvenile justice, children with disabilities, elimination of child labour, child psychology or sociology and laws relating to children.  The officers and the staff of the Commission will be provided by the Central Government. The proposed Commission would be set up for proper enforcement of children’s rights and effective implementation of laws and programmes relating to children. 

The Functions of the Commissions are:

  • Examine and review the safeguards provided by Constitution or any law for the protection of child rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation
  • Present to the Central Government, annually reports upon the working of those safeguards.
  • Examine all factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights of most vulnerable children and  children in need of special care and protection
  • Study treaties and other international instruments and undertake periodical review of existing policies, programmes and other activities on child rights and make recommendation for their effective implementation in the best interest of children.
  • Undertake and promote research in the field of child rights
  • Spread child rights literacy among various sections of the society and promote awareness 
  • Inspect any juvenile custodial home, or any other place of residence or institution meant for children for the purpose of treatment, reformation or protection and take up with these authorities for remedial action
  • Inquire into complaints and take suo motu notice of matters relating to,-
  1. Deprivation of child’s rights;
  2. Non-implementation of laws for protection and  development of    children;
  3. Non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or and to provide relief to such children,
  • or take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities; and
  • Such other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of child rights

The Powers of the Commission include the following:

  1. Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
  2. Requiring the discovery and production of any document;
  3. Receiving evidence on affidavits;
  4. Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office; and
  5. Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents.
  6. Forwarding any case to a Magistrate having jurisdiction to try the same and the Magistrate to whom any such case is forwarded shall proceed to hear the complaint against the accused
  7. Recommending to the concerned Government or authority the initiation of proceedings for prosecution or such other action as deem fit against the concerned person/s
  8. Approaching the Supreme Court or the High Court concerned for such directions, orders or writs as that Court may deem necessary;
  9. Recommending to the concerned Government or authority for the grant of such interim relief to the victim or the members of his family as the Commission consider necessary.


State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights

  • The Bill also provides that State Governments may constitute State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights in their State and designate a State level and other district level children’s Court in their respective State.
  • The Bill has similar provisions for State Commissions in respect of their constitution, reporting, functions and powers.
    With the alleviation of the status of Department of Women and Child Development to an independent Ministry headed by the Minister of State having independent charge it was necessary to change the above provision to make the Minister in charge of the Ministry or Department of Women and Child Development as the Chairperson of the Selection Committee for the selection of the Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.  Hence, the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights(Amendment) Bill 2006 was prepared which has been passed by both the Houses of Parliament in the Winter Session.  The Commission will be set up once the above Amendment Bill is assented to by the President which would enable the Ministry of Women and Child Development to select the Chairperson and Members of the Commission for its constitution. 
    The initiatives are being taken for constitution of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.  The Rules for implementation of the provisions of the Act in respect for National Commission for Protection of Child Rights have been notified on 31.7.2006.  Ministry of Finance have also approved certain number of posts for the National Commission.  Initiatives have been taken for appointment of Member Secretary and staff for the National Commission. 
  • Offences Against Children(Prevention) Bill
    Child abuse involves several aspects, such as, sexual exploitation, economic exploitation, domestic violence, trafficking for prostitution, corporal punishment at school, and others. Therefore, the Ministry felt a need to have a dialogue on the issue so as to ascertain the views from all quarters and to formulate a consensus in order to address the issue more adequately and effectively.  Accordingly few consultations have been made with voluntary organizations and experts dealing with the subject.  It has been decided after consultation to constitute a small group consisting of representative from Government, NGOs, legal experts and social workers which will go into all aspects of the subject and after considering all existing legal provisions and others available on the subject and formulate a draft legislation to address all issues pertaining to child abuse. After wide consultations a draft Bill for Offences Against Children was prepared and circulated to the State Governments for their comments and views. After obtaining the comments of concerned Ministries and Departments a draft Cabinet Note has been referred to Law Ministry for their vetting.  The proposal will be placed before the Cabinet shortly.


Child Budgeting
The key objectives of the endeavor would be to analyse budgetary provisions on social sector, to identify the magnitude of budgetary allocations made by the Centre/State Governments on schemes meant for addressing specific needs of children, to examine the trend in child specific expenditure etc.  The main agenda for the exercise of child budgeting is to review resource allocations related to children; explore ways to increase budgetary allocations for children; assess budget utilization rates for social sector and child specific programmes, identify blockages and constraints to effective utilization; identify methods for tracking expenditure and monitoring performance to ensure that outlays translate into outcomes for children.

National Awards:

National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement
The National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement was instituted in 1996 to give recognition to the children with exceptional abilities and who have achieved outstanding status in various fields including academics, arts, culture and sports etc.. Children between the age of 4 to 15 years who have shown an exceptional achievement in any field including academics, arts, culture and sports etc. are to be considered for this award. One Gold Medal and 35 silver Medals (one for each State/UT) are to be given annually.
The Awards for the child with exceptional achievement shall consists of :-

Gold Medal – 1 (One)

  1. A cash prize of Rs.20,000/-
  2. A Citation and certificates, and
  3. A Gold Medal

Silver Medals – 35 (Thirty five)

  1. Award money @ Rs.10,000/- for each awardee.
  2. A citation and certificate for each awardee, and
  3. A Silver Medal for each awardee.


National Award for Child Welfare
The Award was instituted in 1979 to honour five institutions and three individuals for their outstanding performance in the field of child welfare.  The National Award for Child Welfare includes a cash prize of Rs. 3 lakh and a certificate for each institution and Rs. 1 lakh and a certificate for each individual. 

Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award
This Award was instituted in 1994 to honour an individual who makes outstanding contribution towards service for children.  The Award carries a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh, a silver plaque and a citation.  The Award were increased to three from the year 2006

 
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