Child Protection Policy

SOCIETY FOR CHILDREN

(SOCH)

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY (CPP)

“Safety and security don’t just happen; they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.”

(Nelson Mandela)

Manoj Kumar Swain

31/05/2017

The Child Protection Policy (CPP) act like a guiding manual to all who directly or indirectly work or somehow come in contact with the children in need of care and protection. It carries the references of laws to protect the best interest of the children and punish the offender. It very clearly mentions the Dos and the Don’ts to ensure the safety and security of the children and a consistency of behavior so that all staff follows the same process.

 

CPP INDEX PAGE:

Sl No TOPIC Page No Sl No TOPIC Page No
1 SOCH – An Overview 2 Define Interface with Children 7
2 Vision & Mission Statement 2 Child protection cell & child protection committee 10
3 SOCH – Values 3 Amendment to Policy 10
4 Defination of Terms 4 Reporting Mechanism to CPC 11
5 Need to have a Child Protection Policy 4 Disciplinary Action 12
6 Scope of the CPP 5 Duties of Organization & Employees 13
7 Child Framework 5 Compliance 14

 

SOCH – AN OVERVIEW:

SOciety for CHildren (SOCH) is a non-profit Organization registered under Society Act XXI of 1860 bearing Registration No-23515/51 at IGR Cuttack, Odisha. Established in July 2012, SOCH is currently operational in three locations viz. Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Puri. RAKSHYAK (child rescue and resettlement), PUNARJIVAN (behaviour modification of hardcore street children) and PANKH (youth mainstreaming) are its three Projects.

 

Project RAKSHYAK identifies and rescues runaway, missing, abducted and abandoned children majorly focusing at railway stations. Rescued children are provided with counseling, food, shelter and cloth support. Due efforts are made to trace the family address of the children to reunite the Children with their families or put them on institutional care with appropriate involvement of government‟s juvenile justice system. The main philosophy of the organization is that the safest and happiest place for children is their homes.

 

As per the figures till 31st March 2017, the project has rescued and resettled 3187 children from various difficult situations since its inception in July, 2012. On an average 100-120 Children are rescued every month by SOCH from all the three operational locations.

VISION AND MISSION STATEMENT:

Vision: To create a just society, where all children are living happily, enjoying all their due rights.

Mission: To realize the rights of deprived children and their rehabilitation.

SOCH VALUES:

Trust: Means SOCH will be always abide by its commitments for the society. It also means the faith entrusted by the supporters and partners. Trust is the reliability build upon the unprivileged children and youths. Trust will bring in a self assessed effort by the team towards the objective.

Freedom: Mean a just and free society where all children are sound in health and wealth. It also means our free ideas, expressions and commitments towards the society. Freedom means go and get the work done. It also means we welcome all criticism and suggestion for an improved and better approach.

Transparency: For SOCH all income and expenditure should be righteously shared with the supporters and partners. Our open transaction policy has nothing to hide when it comes to the utilization of funds and resources. They are all at beck and call of our supporters, partners or any legal process.

Accountability: SOCH is accountable to all its Supporters and Partners who have believed in the cause. It also believes for the timely and accurate execution of the task. It also shoulders the responsibility of the outcome.

Innovation & Creativity: SOCH encourages innovative and creative ways of finding solution to social issues irrespective of the source from which it has been generated. All value adding inputs are of top priority.

Dedication: SOCH is a dedicated Team with an objective to establish that equal rights and opportunities are there for all to relish. For those who fail to do so will soon do so with SOCH‟s devotion.

Collaboration: SOCH is a firm approver of collaborative approach towards the resolution of any problem statement; be it collaborating as a volunteer or as a funder or through some critical inputs as a critical appreciator.

 DEFINITION OF TERMS:

Who is a Child?

According to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, a “child” means a person who has not completed eighteen years of age

What is Child Protection?

Most countries have introduced laws to protect and prevent children from certain threats or harms. In a broad term it is described in policies, standards and guidelines to protect children from intentional and unintentional harm. In the current context, it applies particularly for the organizations and individuals associated while working with the children.

What is Child Abuse?

Child abuse‟ or „maltreatment‟ constitutes all forms of physical and emotional ill treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power‟ (WHO, 1999).

What is a Child Protection Policy (CPP)

A child protection policy is a conglomeration of values, beliefs, rules, guideline, principles and statements to establish organization’s commitment towards protecting children from any possible harm or threat from internal or external Stakeholders. CPP ensures a safe and healthy environment while the organization child centric programmes for the overall development of the children.

NEED TO HAVE A CHILD PROTECTION POLICY:

SOCH’s prime focus is children and it has endeavor to “saving innocent lives from potential, beggary, child trafficking and other vagaries of street life”. SOCH believes that family is the best place for child’s overall growth. Hence policy must be equipped with necessary information, negotiable and non negotiable children guidelines about the knowledge to give the child support, guidance and help needed at any particular time, keeping in mind the best interests of the child.

As an organization working for the children, it is the obligation to ensure that the children will be protected from accidental harm as well as planned abuse within organization intended for their benefit. This policy will assist in fulfilling this duty and enhance the credibility of our organization. Therefore the child protection policy would help to create a child safe organization where children feel safe, can speak out, are listened to and where children and staff are respected and empowered. Thus, the organization creates a safe and positive environment for children and to ensure that SOCH will take its duty seriously.

SCOPE OF THE CPP:

This policy is applicable to the following people:

Working staff: A Working staff is having an appointment made between SOCH on one part and the employee on other part. It is revised from time to time depending upon the requirement of work. The assignment is given for specific activities to the staff for those with knowledge in their fields.

 

Volunteers: Persons who perform a service of their own will, with and without payment.

 

Members of the organization: The members of the organization and the family members of these members, advisors, legal officer who may or may not be in the pay role.

 

Donors: Any individual or agency contributing to the organization’s resources in cash or kind for a specific period of time. Prior to their contribution there is a planning stage where both the donor and the recipient play an active role. The recipient is accountable to the donor and they work in partnership.

 

Interns: As a part of the academic curriculum, students come from different institutes/universities for a specific period of time with the objective of learning to fulfill the assignments given to them by the organization/colleges.

 

Visitors: An individual or group who visits the organization for a short span of time with the purpose of understanding our work.

 

Shelter in charge: Shelter in charge and cook since they live their life in the temporary shelter. Hence, family members at shelter visit them. There is a possibility that they come into contact with the children living in the temporary shelter. They need to be double cautioned on these issues since children live in their custody for a maximum period.

POLICY FRAMEWORK:

The Child Protection Policy is based on the following framework:

  • United Nations CRC:

Article 3: following clauses

  • Best interest of the child
  • Duty of care and protection
  • Standards of care

Article 6: Survival and Development Article 12: Participation

Article 13: Freedom of expression Article 19: Protection from violence

  • Constitution of India:

Part III of the Constitution: Enumerating fundamental rights from Article 14 to 21 more specifically articles 15(3), 12 A, 23 (Right Against Exploitation), 24 (Prohibits employment of children below 14 years)

Directive Principles of State Policy: Article 39 pledges that the state shall in particular, direct it policy towards securing the health and strength of workers, men and women and the tender age of children are not abused, and the citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength, that the children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in condition and of freedom and dignity, that childhood and youth are protected against exploitations, and against moral and material abandonment.

  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act:

This Act consolidates and amends the law relating to Juvenile in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, by providing for proper care, protection and treatment by catering to their developmental needs, and by adopting a child friendly approach in the adjudication and disposition of matters in the best interest of children and for their ultimate rehabilitation through institutional and non-institutional measures.

  • Indian Penal Code 1860:

Provisions of rape, sexual assault applicable to children under the following IPC sections:

  • Section 366 A: Procreation of a minor girl (below 18 years of age) from one part of the country to another is punishable.
  • Section 366 B: Importation of a girl below 21 years is punishable.
  • Section 354: Outraging the modesty of women, including girl children; 2 years sentence.
  • Section 376: Rape of a girl child-till 16 years of age – Statutory rape; 10 years or life imprisonment.
  • Section 377: Bestiality, sodomy, child sexual abuse of both boys and girl children; 10 years or more
  • Key Legislations central to protection of children:

    • Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act (1956): This act deals exclusively with trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of prostitution as an organized means of living.
    • Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act (1986): Prohibits child labour-in hazardous occupations‟ for children below 14 years of age.
    • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006: Child marriage is prohibited for children- boys below 21 years and girls below 18 years.
    • Karnataka Devadasi (Prohibition of Dedication) Act (1982): Prohibits „dedication‟ and trafficking of young girls under the Devadasi practice.

DEFINE INTERFACE WITH CHILDREN:

Since our interface with children is at different points and levels so we have created different rules for each point of work with children. They are contacts points, SOCH Counseling Center & Government Home and Camps.

  • Rules of interface with children by SOCH staff at Contact Point (mainly at station)
    • Every child rescued from the Railway Station must be informed about Organization. Only when the child gives consent for coming to the Counseling Center then only he/she should be brought to the Counseling Center. After the child becomes ready to come to the Counseling Center. It will be recorded with RPF and GRP (In places where DD Entry is not available, It is informed to local authorities)
    • To motivate or convince the child, the staff should use child friendly language i.e. no use of rude words and slang.
    • Any girl child is found on the station, help of female staff have to be taken or female police constable.
    • Ensuring   that   respect and   dignity   of child is maintained without any discrimination of caste, creed, sex, colour etc.
    • Ensuring that the staff/staffs don’t touch private parts of the child.
    • During the time of patrolling the Railway Stations staff should be in uniform and ID Cards.
    • After convincing the child at station, staff should directly bring the child to the Counseling Center as early as possible.
    • Addressing the child’s timely needs food and medical.

 

  • Rules of interface with children by staff at SOCH Counseling Center /Government Homes
    • In Counseling Center do not keep pictures that scare children.
    • Counseling Center should be clean and tidy.
    • Emergency phone numbers/contact (doctor, Police and senior staff) should be displayed in the Counseling Center.
    • Secular images to be displayed in the Counseling Center.
    • Checking the child’s pockets to remove the harmful objects (with consent of child)
    • Always engage children for their self learning, counseling or games.
    • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner should be provided timely, in case someone hungry at other time, please bring before notice of center in charge.
    • In case someone sick, not feeling well, immediately bring in notice of center in charge and consult doctor.
    • Any food donated by outsider, should be tested by Center in charge (Issuing a acknowledgement letter by taking a sign from the donor).
    • Staff should be decently dressed at Counseling Center.
    • First aid box should be available in such a place that it is easily accessible to the child and staff. The child should be informed about the first aid box.

 

  • Harmful things like Blade, Knife, Scissor, nails, Dettol, Phenol, and Toilet cleaner should not be available to children.
  • Belongings of the child should be kept safe (not to misuse) and return back to him at the time of reunion/ resettlement and take the signature of the child while returning his valuables. If a child is illiterate then while returning his belongings his thumb impression should be taken.
  • No personal entertainment for staff in the Counseling Center /Office. Staff should never order child to do things and entertain staff/staffs.
  • When the child is not comfortable in the Counseling Center, then child should be given freedom. If the child is not at all ready to stay in the Counseling Center then child should be handed over to CWC

 

  • Rules of interface for Visitors and Volunteers in the Counseling Center
    • Staff should provide brief information of the organization.
    • Staff should inform about organization rules and instruct them to follow up.
    • Volunteers/visitors for long term engagement should bring request letter for visit from the concerned authority.
    • No direct access to any documents or case studies or confidential matter of children without the consent of the higher authorities.
    • Photographs of the children are to be taken with permission of organization.
    • Volunteers should not give outside food to the children without the knowledge of the staffs.
    • Consumption of alcohol, smoking & chewing gutkha is strictly prohibited in the premises of Counseling Centre.
    • Student should bring ID card and permission letter from the college.

 

  • Rules of Interface with children by staff at camps organized by SOCH
    • All children should be informed about camps and its activities
    • No beating/kicking/verbal or physical abuse of child in the camps.
    • Addressing child’s sexual behavior amongst children in the camps.
    • Outsiders, relatives or friends of the staffs are not allowed to stay in the camp during night time. Only the camp teachers are allowed to stay in the camps. Then the activities of camp teachers should be monitored by a senior person in the organization who is with our organization for a long time.
    • Formal dress for child and staff in the camps.
    • ID cards of the staff and the related documents for camp should be present.
    • Basic facilities like food, accommodation, and medicine should be provided
    • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner should be provided timely, in case someone hungry at other time, please bring before notice of center in charge.
    • Staff should be well aware of the camp place
    • In the camp do not keep pictures that children get scare.
    • Emergency phone numbers/contact (doctor, police, and senior staff) should be displayed in the camp.
    • In case someone sick, not feeling well, immediately bring in notice of center in charge and consult doctor.

 

  • First aid box should be available in such a place that it is easily accessible to the child and staff. The child should be available in such a place that it is easily accessible to the child and staff. The child should be informed about the first aid box.
  • Harmful things like Blade, Knife, scissor, nail cutter, Dettol, Phenol, and Toilet cleaner should not be available children.
  • Staff shouldn’t take any kind of addiction (at camp) and shouldn’t consume substance like gutkha, alcohol, cigarette/bidi etc and come to Camp.
  • No personal entertainment for staff in the Camp by the child.
  • Staff should have Non Judgmental attitude.
  • Staff should follow the Camp time table.
  • Staff should have patience and behave in a friendly manner when they are interacting with child in the camp.
  • Songs, stories and games to be shared that involves camp aspects.
  • Sensitivity of the staff towards the feeling of the child
  • No discrimination among children.
  • Without informing of camp in charge, No interaction with localities during camp process.
  • Staff should have patience and behave friendly when they are interacting with child in the camp.
  • Parents counseling is to be done before the child is reunited to his parents.

 

  • Rules of interface with children by visitors and volunteers in the camp
    • Staff should provide brief information of the organization.
    • Staff should inform about organization rules and instruct them to follow up.
    • No direct access to any documents or case studies of children at camps.
    • None of the staff should share the case studies or confidential matter of children without the consent of the higher authorities.
    • Photographs are to be taken in the camp with permission of organization and child.
    • Volunteers should not give outside food to the children without the knowledge of the staffs.
    • Consumption of alcohol and smoking is strictly prohibited in the premises of camp.
    • Student should bring ID card and permission letter from the college.

 

What does the CPP prohibit?

Prohibitions advocated by SOCH’s CPP are also at different levels

 

Prohibition at contact point (mainly at railway platform)

  • No false promises to be made during rescue
  • Staff shouldn’t use any form of addiction during approaching the child.
  • Staff should not tell children to take him to the shelter in the influence of any form of addiction.

 

Prohibition at Counseling Center

  • Not allowing relatives or friends of staff to stay in Counseling Center.
  • No discrimination among children at Counseling Center.
  • Girls should not be allowed to stay in the Counseling Center during the night time (no age bar)
  • Male Staffs should not touch the girl child and he should not be present while counseling the girl.

Prohibition at camp

  • Staff should not use harsh words, tease, rag, and abuse children.
  • Staff should not assign any kind of work to children.
  • Make sure that any kind of substance (alcohol, bidi, cigarette, solution) is not available in the camps for children.
  • Make Boundaries between child and staff in terms of physical and personal relationship.
  • No comparison / criticism between two children.
  • No giving nick names and pet names to children during camp.
  • Not telling the child directly this is wrong or this is right.

 

CHILD PROTECTION CELL & CHILD PROTECTION COMMITTEE:

A Child Protection Cell will be shaped in the organization. The cell will be used for the meeting of Child Protection Committees and keeping related records. A Child Protection Committee (CPC) will be constituted with at least three members of whom at least one woman will be included. A person having experience of dealing with the issues of child abuse, have proper understanding on the issue and having necessary qualification to understand child psychology should be nominated to the Cell. One of the committee members will be acting as Chairperson. Above committee will be appointed by the Governing body of the organization. Only the Governing body reserves the right to nominate members, alter, remove, increase or reduce number in the CPC. Any conflicts arises in exercising the power of the CPC or any appeal against the decision of the CPC can only be discussed in the Governing body and then the decision of Governing body will be final.

AMENDMENTS TO POLICY:

SOCH Governing body reserves the right to modify, suspend, or terminate any of the policies, guidelines described in the Child Protection Policy. Changes to this policy will be made with approval from the Governing body. The Governing body of SOCH consists of the Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and four members. In event of a policy change the staff will be informed. It will be applied to SOCH staff, visitors of the organization and outside person who receive services and who come to see the activities of the organization.

REPORTING MECHANISM TO CPC:

Any child can report to the CPC on any form of child abuse including child sexual abuse.

 

  • Telephone numbers of all CPC members will be pasted at Counseling Centre. Any child / parent / staff can inform any member on the child abuse. In case of child sexual abuse, the child may not explain about his/her abuse on phone. He/she may call any member to the Counseling Centre where he/she can explain the matter. In that case, the member should immediately visit the child and discuss with him/her at any place suitable to the child.
  • There will be a complaint box at Counseling Centre. The box will be opened by the supervisor of the Counseling Centre who in turn will report about the abuse to the CPC. .
  • All children will be oriented frequently about the Childline telephone number – 1098 and its original land line number. Any child can report about the abuse through this number. In this case, Childline will take necessary action immediately and report to the CPC.
  • All the important contact details must be displayed in the board, for the convenience of the child.

 

Define the procedure for making complaints?

It has been decided by Governing body of SOCH that, if anyone is found breaching the policy, then appropriate action can be taken by the CPC/ Governing body.

  • Any matter regarding violation of child protection policy by any staff at contact point or at camp would be reported to Coordinator and CPC.
  • The matter would be reported to CPC when the coordinator is implicated.
  • Incases regarding violation of CPP the coordinator would work together with the CPC in consultation with the Governing body.
  • Looking into the interest of the accused any matters regarding violation of CPP it is to be treated in strict confidentiality.
  • CPC in consultation with the Governing body will decide after careful deliberation and evidence of the case whether to have the matter dropped or handled internally or referred to the police depending on level of assessed gravity and complexity.
  • The entire process leading to decision making should be documented and all facts or written allegations and responses are maintained in a file.
  • In case violation of CPP by CPC then the Governing body shall take necessary action depending on the gravity of the violation.

As soon as a case of misconduct is brought to the attention of the CPC/ Governing body they shall consider the case and if the matter warrants further investigation then the accused staff member shall be suspended pending investigation and final decision.

 

Communication Procedure regarding children

These are protocols to control confidential information regarding children and to prevent the presentation of degrading images of children through publication.

  • Images of children not to be taken while they are taking or changing clothes. They are to be properly clothed
  • For case studies, name of child has to be changed and no personal information to identify location of child to be given. Child’s face will be blurred to protect child’s identity.
  • There must be accurate representation of the statement made by staff and children.
  • Never manipulate text and images and emphasis to be given on dignity of the child No information regarding the organization and any child to be obtained over telephone

DISCIPLINARY ACTION:

Violation of any policy causes disciplinary action. In case of paid staff following action may be initiated if the abuse is proved. Before going for recommending for a disciplinary action for the abuse the CPC will give ample opportunity to the abuser to express his/her views. He/she will be allowed to produce witness on behalf of him/her. A detailed case matter will be recorded by the CPC before any recommendation.

Notice:

In the notice, the CPC must mention the charges against him/her. The concerned staff may be asked to explain cause within a specified time frame. If he/she fails to give a satisfactory answer the disciplinary action will be initiated.

 

Disciplinary Action: The Secretary is the Disciplinary Authority. He can take any disciplinary action against the abuser as per the recommendation of CPC. The following Disciplinary Actions may be initiated against the employee by the Disciplinary Authority.

 

Minor Actions:

  • Censure or fine.
  • Warning
  • Stagnant of increment /promotion
  • Transfer to another job/place.

 

Major Actions:

  • Demotion to a lower post and scale of Honorarium.
  • Dismiss from the said services

 

Suspension:

The abuser may also be suspended from duty by the Secretary during a disciplinary proceeding. If a Social Worker is suspended he/she shall be paid a subsistence allowance which is not more than 50 % of his basic honorarium. Staff found guilty and charged for punishment then no additional honorarium will be paid in the period. If not found guilty, then staff will be paid his pending honorarium.

 

Inquiry authority:

In case of child abuse, the CPC is the inquiry authority. The inquiry conducted by the CPC will be considered as final. In case the alleged person requests the Secretary in writing to add his/her peer staff member during inquiry for a fair investigation of the facts, Secretary may consider and allow another person. However that person can only participate during inquiry. He/she cannot be present or suggest any thing to CPC for recommending disciplinary action.

DUTIES OF ORGANISATION AND EMPLOYEES:

The Child Protection Policy hereafter will comprise of all units, including children and staff of SOCH, visitors and donors, volunteers, family members of the staff / members of the organization coming in direct or indirect contact with children.

A Child Protection Policy provides a framework of principles, standards and guidelines on which to base individual and organizational practice in relation to areas such as:

  • Recruitment/Selection
  • Induction and training
  • Management system
  • Recruitment/ Selection: All employees, interns and volunteers having direct or indirect contact with children have to face a thorough and standardized recruitment/interview process. The induction process is as follows:
    1. Working staff, interns and volunteer:
  • Child protection statement mentioned in advertisement
  • Specific responsibilities included in job description
  • Questions on child protection issues relevant to the role during interview
  • Original qualification testimonials to be produced by employee before recruitment
  • Two reference to be verified either over telephone by the employer
  • Enquiry for employment gaps, frequent changes of employment or reasons for leaving employment (if sudden)
  • Interns and volunteers
  • In case of interns and volunteers a letter or reference from the institution to be submitted
  • Will have to give complete details of their work, objective for doing the work and expected outcome
  • Orientation of the organization and its work
  1. Induction and Training

There are opportunities within the organization to develop the necessary skills for understanding of safeguard children.

  1. An overview of the organizational structure and its work of the new employee’s.
  2. The key strategies of the organization.
  3. A general introduction to the main terms and conditions of employment.
  4. A clear outline of the job/role requirements.

 

  • Management Systems

A management process is adopted in order to facilitate the implementation of the CPP:

  1. Clear communication through regular meetings.
  2. Concerns are listened to and responded to in a positive manner
  3. Reports and personal information on children are kept confidential and disclosed to only those who need to know
  4. Child protection issues are included in regular staff evaluations/appraisals
  5. Responsibility of management to ensure implementation of CPP
  6. Responsibility of the management to ensure that the Policy is reviewed every year by heads and incorporate any necessary changes.

 

COMPLIANCE:

The Governing body has reviewed this policy in its meeting on the day of………………..and found it clear, fair and consistent with established law in the state of Orissa, India to protect rights of the children.

 

Signed on Behalf of the Governing body, SOCH, Bhubaneswar

Signature

Seal of the organization 

Name: Mr. Manoj Kumar Swain Designation: Secretary

Date: