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    Mission Vatsalya Scheme for Child Protection & Development

    Mission Vatsalya is a centrally sponsored scheme aimed at achieving the objectives of child protection and development in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The scheme emphasizes children’s rights, advocacy, and awareness while developing the juvenile justice care and protection system under the guiding principle of “leave no child behind.” This article delves into the background, vision, objectives, funding, key features, and implementation of the Mission Vatsalya scheme.

    Background

    Previously, three schemes were implemented under the Ministry of Women & Child Development. These were:

    1. Programme for Juvenile Justice for Children in need of care and protection, and Children in conflict with the Law;
    2. Integrated Programme for street children; and
    3. Scheme for assistance to homes for children (Shishu Greh).

    In 2009-2010, these three schemes were combined into a single, centrally sponsored scheme known as the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS). In 2017, the program’s name was changed to the “Child Protection Services” Scheme. From 2021-22 onwards, the CPS Scheme has been subsumed under Mission Vatsalya.

    The Vision of Mission Vatsalya

    Mission Vatsalya advocates for family-based, non-institutional care of children in difficult situations and institutionalized care as a measure of last resort only. The vision of the mission is to ensure a healthy and happy childhood for every child in India and create opportunities for them to realize their full potential in a sustainable manner.

    Aim of the Mission

    The Mission aims to:

    • Support and sustain children in difficult circumstances;
    • Develop context-based solutions for the holistic development of children from varied backgrounds;
    • Provide scope for encouraging

    Objective of Mission Vatsalya

    The key objectives of the mission are:

    1. The child’s best interests should be considered when creating or implementing initiatives and programs.
    2. Ensure the right of children to survival, development, protection, and participation.
    3. Develop fundamental services and improve emergency outreach, community and family-based noninstitutional care, and counselling and support services for institutional care at the national, regional, state, and district levels.
    4. Coordinate and network with all allied systems to support convergent efforts for seamless service delivery to children in order to ensure appropriate inter-sector response at all levels.
    5. Promote family and community-level child protection, empower families and communities to recognize risks and vulnerabilities impacting children, and develop and spread preventive methods to shield children from danger, risk, and abuse.
    6. Encourage private sector partnerships to support children within the framework of the law.
    7. Ensure the best interests of children through increasing public awareness, educating the public about child rights, vulnerabilities, and protective measures sponsored by the government, and involving the community at all levels.
    8. Track the development of objective parameters in relation to outputs and outcomes.
    9. Involve Panchayats and Municipal Local Bodies at the village, ward, and urban cluster levels, and regular monitoring to develop a strong social safety net for children.

    Mission Vatsalya: Funding Pattern

    Mission Vatsalya is a centrally sponsored scheme, implemented in partnership with State Governments and UT. The fund-sharing pattern between Centre and State & Union Territories is as follows:

    • 60:40 for most states;
    • 90:10 for North-Eastern states, two Himalayan states, and the UT of Jammu and Kashmir;
    • 100% central share for Union Territories without Legislature.

    Key Features of New Guideline

    Some key features of the Mission Vatsalya scheme include:

    • Implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
    • A monthly grant of Rs. 4000/- per child is provided for family-based non-institutional care, including Sponsorship (kinship), Foster Care, or After Care.
    • Support for a 24×7 helpline service for children in partnership with States and Districts, as defined under the JJ Act, 2015.
    • Establishment of Cradle Baby Reception Centres in at least one Specialized Adoption Agency (SAA) in each district to save abandoned children.
    • Focus on special needs children in Child Care Institutions (CCIs), who are physically/mentally disabled and not able to go to school.
    • Assistance to State Adoption Resource Agencies (SARA), which in turn will aid the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) in promoting adoption.
    • Establishment of separate children’s homes based on gender (including separate homes for transgender children) and age for children who require care, as well as for children with special needs.
    • Encouragement of the state government to establish open shelters for children who are homeless, missing, being trafficked, working, living on the streets, beggars, substance abusers, etc.

    Mission Vatsalya Portal

    The Mission Vatsalya Portal integrates four different portals under one single platform:

    1. TrackChild, for Missing/Found Children;
    2. CARINGS, for the adoption of Children;
    3. ICPS portal, for monitoring the scheme; and
    4. Khoya-Paya, Citizen-centric application for Missing and Sighted Children.

    The Mission Vatsalya portal offers a single digital platform for children in challenging situations, such as missing, orphaned, abandoned, and surrendered children. These vulnerable children need to be identified and mapped with the government’s institutions and services to ensure their care and development.

    Other Government Initiatives

    In addition to Mission Vatsalya, the government has taken several initiatives for the welfare and protection of children. Some of these include:

    • SAMVAD: Launched by the Ministry in collaboration with NIMHANS, SAMVAD (Support, Advocacy and Mental health Interventions for children in Vulnerable circumstances And Distress) mainly focuses on the mental health of all children, especially those in distressed conditions. It provides counselling to the children and their caregivers.
    • Child Protection Awards: These awards recognize the commitment and effort of personnel working in all aspects of child protection programs in States and UTs. The awards are presented based on the recommendation of the State Government and UTs.

    Conclusion

    Mission Vatsalya and other related initiatives hold great potential for improving the lives of children with physical and mental disabilities in India. The intention behind these socially beneficial programs is commendable, but their success depends on whether they work within structures of accountability and are built on principles of sustainability. By fostering a strong social safety net for children and implementing effective measures to protect and nurture them, India can work towards ensuring a healthy, happy, and fulfilling childhood for every child.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What is the main objective of Mission Vatsalya?

    The main objective of Mission Vatsalya is to achieve child protection and development goals in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), emphasizing children’s rights, advocacy, and awareness while developing the juvenile justice care and protection system.

    Q: How did Mission Vatsalya evolve from previous schemes?

    Mission Vatsalya evolved from the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) which combined three earlier schemes. In 2017, the ICPS was renamed the “Child Protection Services” Scheme and was finally subsumed under Mission Vatsalya from 2021-22 onwards.

    Q: What is the vision of Mission Vatsalya?

    The vision of Mission Vatsalya is to ensure a healthy and happy childhood for every child in India and create opportunities for them to realize their full potential in a sustainable manner, advocating for family-based, non-institutional care.

    Q: How is Mission Vatsalya funded?

    Mission Vatsalya is a centrally sponsored scheme, implemented in partnership with State Governments and UT. The fund-sharing pattern varies between Centre and State & Union Territories, with different ratios for most states, North-Eastern and Himalayan states, and Union Territories without Legislature.

    Q: What are the key features of the Mission Vatsalya scheme?

    Key features include a monthly grant for family-based non-institutional care, a 24×7 helpline service for children, Cradle Baby Reception Centres, focus on special needs children in CCIs, assistance to State Adoption Resource Agencies (SARA), and separate children’s homes based on gender and age.

    Q: What is the purpose of the Mission Vatsalya Portal?

    The Mission Vatsalya Portal offers a single digital platform for children in challenging situations, integrating four different portals (TrackChild, CARINGS, ICPS portal, and Khoya-Paya) to identify and map vulnerable children with government institutions and services for their care and development.

    Q: What is SAMVAD?

    SAMVAD is a project launched by the Ministry in collaboration with NIMHANS, focusing on the mental health of all children, especially those in distressed conditions. It provides counselling to the children and their caregivers.

    Q: What are the Child Protection Awards?

    The Child Protection Awards recognize the commitment and effort of personnel working in all aspects of child protection programs in States and UTs, presented based on the recommendation of the State Government and UTs.

    Q: What is the role of Panchayats and Municipal Local Bodies in Mission Vatsalya?

    Panchayats and Municipal Local Bodies are involved at the village, ward, and urban cluster levels for regular monitoring, helping to develop a strong social safety net for children in the context of Mission Vatsalya.

    Q: How does Mission Vatsalya promote private-sector partnerships?

    Mission Vatsalya encourages private sector partnerships to support children within the framework of the law, ensuring the best interests of children and promoting public awareness, child rights, vulnerabilities, and protective measures sponsored by the government.

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