The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) recently issued new guidelines for the ‘Mission Vatsalya’ Scheme in order to lay out a future roadmap for child protection.
- Prior to 2009-10, there were three schemes being implemented under the MWCD, namely,
- Programme for Juvenile Justice for Children in need of care and protection and Children in conflict with Law;
- Integrated Programme for street children; and
- Scheme for assistance to homes for children (Shishu Greh).
- All the three schemes were incorporated in a single centrally sponsored scheme called the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), which was implemented by the Ministry since 2009-2010.
- The scheme was then renamed as “Child Protection Services” Scheme in 2017.
- The CPS Scheme has been now subsumed under Mission Vatsalya from 2021-22 onwards.
About Mission Vatsalya –
- It is an umbrella scheme of the MWCD, which aims to provide a roadmap to achieve development and child protection priorities aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- It lays emphasis on child rights, advocacy and awareness along with strengthening of the juvenile justice care and protection system with the motto to ‘leave no child behind’.
- It is implemented as a centrally sponsored scheme.
- Basic framework for implementation —
- The provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 form the basic framework for implementation of the Mission.
- Components —
- The Scheme includes statutory bodies, service delivery structures, institutional care or services, non-institutional community-based care, emergency outreach services, training and capacity building.
- Vision of the Scheme —
- To secure a healthy and happy childhood for each and every child in India.
- To ensure opportunities to enable them to discover their full potential and assist them in flourishing in all respects, in a sustained manner.
- To promote family-based non-institutional care for children in difficult situations, based on the principle of institutionalisation as a last resort measure.
New guidelines –
- The guidelines elaborate on the vision for “Vatsalya Sadan,” with a specific focus on “Juveniles in Conflict with the Law.”
- Vatsalya Sadan is an Integrated Home Complex of Child Care Institutions (Children Home, Observation Home, Special Home, Place of Safety).
- The Juvenile Justice Board and Child Welfare Committee is also located within the same premises.
- The new guidelines include promoting family-based non-institutional care for children in difficult situations, as well as the establishment of “Cradle Baby Reception Centres” for receiving abandoned babies vulnerable to trafficking.
- Cradle Baby Reception Centres shall be fully equipped to care for infants in at least one specialised adoption agency (SAA) per district.
- Their objective shall be to rescue the abandoned children and look after them till they are adopted.
- The guidelines make no mention of the existing helpline number (1098-Childline) or its future.
- The guidelines, however, state that “Mission Vatsalya,” in collaboration with states and districts, will implement a 24×7 helpline service for children.
- This helpline service will be integrated with the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Emergency Response Support System 112 (ERSS-112) helpline.
- The new guidelines define the role of the District Magistrate, who will be responsible for ensuring execution of the mission at the district level.