Govt develops new SOP for street children to strengthen processes and interventions

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New Delhi, Nov 20 (PTI) The government has developed a new standard operating procedure for care and protection of street children to strengthen the processes and interventions so that there should not be any child in a street situation and they should be with their families.

The standard operating procedure has been developed by the apex child rights body NCPCR in collaboration with child rights NGO Save the Children.

Save the Children mapped about two lakhs children in 10 cities of four states in India, namely, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, whose rights to protection, education, health, water, sanitation, and urban development and welfare were not addressed so far.

The core principle adopted in Standard Operating Procedure for Care and Protection of Children in Street Situations 2 is looking at the child in the context of family since a family is the first resort for a child, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights said.

Noting that the biggest question was regarding how to link the CiSS to these programmes and schemes run by the government, NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said families of these children should be strengthened through linking them.

'This SOP 2.0 comprehensively addresses both – the protection issues of children living on the streets and strengthening of their families,' he said The SOP is focused on providing social protection to children with and without families, adding processes and procedures that have worked for Care and Protection of Children in Street Situations (CiSS) in the two years of the SOP implementation and excluding those programmes that did not work in bettering the lives of these children.

The version 2.0 will also look at the role of the stakeholders, identified earlier, that supported in strengthening the systems that lead to improvement in the lives of CiSS. Various cross-cutting issues of disability, substance abuse, age and gender will also be clearly included for each category of CiSS in the SOP version 2.0 The SOP 2.0 includes provisions under different Acts, institutional mechanisms, social interventions and schematic benefits to address the core issues and reasons for children being in street situations. It also focuses on providing social protection to children with and without families.

Cross-cutting issues of disability, substance abuse, age and gender have been included for each category of CiSS.

The SOP version 2.0 also talks about an individual care plan for CiSS and family strengthening with schemes as per the findings of the Special Investigation Report and it is an endeavour to strengthen the processes and interventions regarding CiSS in the view that there should not be any child in a street situation; rather, they should be with their families.

'The SOP 2.0 includes mechanisms and a comprehensive package of interventions for CiSS and their families within the ambit of the current legal and policy framework, and recommends a coordinated and convergent effort by all ,” said Sudarshan Suchi, CEO, Save the Children.

A huge number of CiSS were found to be typically suffering from many denials and vulnerabilities, including: deprivation of responsible adult protection and care; forced to work to eat each day; work in unhealthy occupations on streets, like rag-picking, begging and; subject to physical abuse and sexual exploitation; abysmally poor sanitary conditions; inadequate nutrition from begging, foraging for food; exposure to drug and substance abuse; and no access to medical care or education.

Some key challenges faced by street children are - missing care and protection of responsible adult, forced to work to eat every day, work in risky occupations on streets and are highly vulnerable to physical injury, abuse and exploitation; poor health and illness due to poor living condition, psycho-social stresses due to loneliness, exposure to drug and substance abuse; low level of access to medical care or education among others. PTI UZM AAR AAR