PANAJI: Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has called for intervention of Women and Child Minister Vishwajit Rane for Strengthening Child Protection Systems.
In a letter to Rane, Goa SCPCR Chairperson Peter F Borges wrote, “As the nation observes, Children’s Day tomorrow, the Commission calls for a core commitment for children, i.e. strengthening child protection systems”.
It said the current analysis of the system indicates that Goa is lagging far behind, with poor implementation and underutilization of the of Integrated Child Protection Scheme, now Mission Vatsalya, for over a decade. Mission Vatsalya Scheme was launched as a roadmap to achieve development and child protection priorities aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “It laid 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’. For past two years, as a monitoring and recommendatory statutory body, the Commission has been able to make a little headway, with several recommendation not being complied,” it said.
GSCPCR said all of us in the child protection ecosystem, including the children desires your intervention. Today, children face myriad risks such as separation from parents and caregivers, family violence, sexual abuse and exploitation including online, disabilities, bullying and violence in schools and communities, justice-related issues, living and working on the streets, dangerous labor, substance abuse, trafficking, HIV and AIDS, and inability to meet basic needs. Lack of proposed interventions like aftercare for those transitioned out of institutional care, sponsorship scheme to prevent parents from institutionalized care and promote familybased care, delay in creating demand for foster care, failure to identify and address child protection issues in communities, poor justice system, for over a decade has weakened the ecosystem and failed to provide safety and safe environment for children to grow and thrive.
“The shoddy response to children in street situation, despite a well-designed standard operating procedure for rescue and rehabilitation and direction by Supreme Court is of great concern as it has increased the risks and vulnerabilities in children leading to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment, and isolation,” it said.
It stated state of Goa is witnessing an astonishing number of children growing up on street at several places in Goa as child beggars, child hawkers pleading desperately to sell a sunshade, stationary or something that is of minimal importance.
“The phenomenon of street children has not yet received the policy attention it deserves. The non recruitment of personnel required for District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) has only worsened the system,” it says.
For several years, GSCPCR says, there has been no strong social service workforce to assist the larger ecosystem with timely outreach services and interventions.
Further, it says, since July this year, the Childline (1098) which is taken over by the government is under resourced with again funds as well as non-recruitment of personnel, weakening the response system to children in distress.
“Sir, it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a whole eco-system to keep them safe to help them grow. No matter their story, their background, their origin, all children have the right to health care, education and other forms of social protection that shield them from the lifelong consequences of poverty and exclusion. We need big overhaul of the system and investment in innovate solutions to improve children’s access to justice systems that are child-friendly, gender-sensitive and wellresourced to uphold their rights and dignity at all stages of their journey,” GSCPCR says.
The Commission is ready to work with other stakeholders in the system to address these issues on a war footing with your intervention and support, it said.
“We need to start looking at our children as equal citizen of today. Investing in our children is investing in our future,” it said.