Hyderabad, Telangana, India — Ian Anand Forber Pratt, Director of Advocacy, South East Asia and Dharshan Ebenezer Vijayaretnam, Sri Lanka National Program Director, trained Sarah’s Covenant Homes (SCH) senior staff, foster mothers and social workers on alternative care for child protection in India.
SCH started in 2008 as a project of Indian Christian Ministries, a third-generation indigenous organization working for the most vulnerable in society, actively serving children and families, mostly in their own communities.
“There couldn’t be a better time for this training, as we are ready and excited about placing children with foster families,” said SCH’s Operations Manager Namrata Challapally. “The training gave us a lot of insight on how to evaluate our progress, set goals and launch new projects within our organization. It also helped us understand the foster care guidelines and gave us new ideas about ways to introduce and implement them in Hyderabad. Now we have a better understanding of the system that we are working in and will take into consideration your valuable suggestions about building a better relationship with the government.”
A May 2017 directive from two benches of the Indian Supreme Court has called for greater oversight and stricter regulations for children’s homes. The court is focused on making foster care and adoption a first option for children, as opposed to institutionalized care. Since 2014, legislation such as the Integrated Child Protection Scheme, The Juvenile Justice (Car & Protection of Children) Act, the Model Guidelines on Foster Care and Adoption Regulations, has clearly stated that institutions should be a last resort when considering care for children. The CERI-led trainings continue working these directives into the daily operation of organizations whose priority is child protection.
Hena Prathibha, SCH Social Work Manager commented:
“It was really valuable training. It took us practically through each stage of family-based care implementation.”
CERI advocates for prioritizing family-based solutions versus institutionalization of children, and offers technical trainings on foster care and community-based program development.