This section deals with the role of the agencies and other associated groups in relation to child protection and how their duties and functions should be organized in order to contribute to inter-agency co-operation for the protection of children. The responsibility for protecting children should not fall entirely to one agency. Awareness and appreciation of another agency’s role will contribute greatly to collaborative practices.
SOCIAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT
The child protection work of social services departments should be considered in the wider context of all the department’s work and more precisely in the context of its child care services. Field workers engaged in child protection work are also involved in a wide range of other child care work and they often work with other client groups. They are aware of the child care facilities provided and known to the department and can draw on these in order to provide support and treatment services for children who have been abused. These include day care facilities, residential accommodation and foster homes.
PARENTS AND COMMUNITY
Parents have a major and significant role in the prevention of sexual abuse of children. Parents can adopt to prevent sexual abuse and also to response in a helpful manner once the child indicated that she has been abused.
The community as a whole has the responsibility for the well-being of children. This means that all citizens should remain alert to circumstances in which children may be harmed.
The police involvement in cases of child abuse stems from their primary responsibility to protect the community and to bring of tenders to justice. Their overriding consideration is the welfare of the child. In the spirit of working together, the police forces should determine whether a criminal offence has been committed, to identify the person or persons responsible and to secure the best possible evidence in order that appropriate consideration can be given as to whether criminal proceedings should be instituted. Failure to conduct child abuse investigations in the most effective manner may mean that the best possible protection cannot be provided for a child victim.
Trade union plays a major role highlighting child aburses. They document concrete causes of aburses child labour. They also monitor the effectiveness of legal instrument and the performance of the labour inspectorate in the child labour field (Narasaiah, 2005).
NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS (NGOs)
A wide range of NGOs provide services including telephone helplines, to help parents and guardians under stress and children at risk. They provide counseling for children with problems and help children in distress (Baruah, 2003). As the preprimary educational needs of rural children are often neglected, many NGOs established pre school centres in rural areas various village level associations like Mahalir Mantrams, Mothers Groups, and Self-Help Groups and are given awareness on child rights by the development interventions of NGOs.
Most initiatives against child labour have come from NGO’s. they help to discover and publicise specific cases of abusive child labour. As they are close to the local communities and children, they are good at devising and implementing action programmes on behalf of child labour and other neglected children (Narasaiah, 2005).
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Children all over the world and particularly from developing countries including India are subjected to different forms of child abuse such as sexual exploitation, discrimination, deprivation of educational opportunity, malnutrition, lack of parental care, child marriage, child labour and female infanticide. All these deprive them of their rights to live protection, participation, education, nationality and development. As a consequence their physical intellectual and psychological developments are affected.
Government of India as a development agency has failed to provide sufficient protection to million of vulnerable children at their most crucial stage of development and is therefore necessary to motivate, mobilize and organize these children at the grass root level and also to enable them to participate in their development process. It needs participatory approach. In this context, the present study examines the development interventions of HEAL, an NGO based in Kanyakumari district, in protecting and promoting child rights through participatory approach.
The study is carried out with the following objectives.
- To understand the strategies adopted by HEAL to ensure child rights.
- To analyse the impacts of HEAL interventions in protecting child rights.
Case study and Participatory Rural Appraisal methods have been adopted in this study. The data have been collected both from primary and secondary sources. Primary data are collected using unstructured schedules. Secondary data have been collected from the reports and records maintained at the Child Activity Centre in HEAL office. Tables and percentages have been used. Tables and pictures have been used for analysis.
Twenty two Child Activity Centres have been promoted by HEAL in Kanyakumari district. For the case study the Child Activity center, Sethupathiyoor has been selected.
PROFILE OF HEAL
HEAL, one of the NGOs in Kanyakumari District was started in 1984 to work among the Dalits who have been suffering from social exclusion and economic marginalization for centuries. Religious dogmas and political and caste systems were the main barriers of their development and contributed to their social exclusion and marginalization, HEAL focused on empowering them through awareness education on their rights and enabling them to achieve their rights.
HEAL visualizes an egalitarian society based on equality, justice and opportunity to all irrespective of caste, religion and socio-economic status. Its mission is to facilitate people’s organization at the grass root level to find solution for the betterment of their life and enabling them to march towards egalitarian society.
At present its geographical areas of operation are Tamilnadu and Pondicherry and target people are women and children, youth, sea shell collectors and other marginalized community. HEAL’s interventions are now focused on organizing these communities at the grass-root level, building their capacity and enabling them to achieve their rights including child rights
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