On April 7, 2016, a new organization in New Delhi, India, The Centre of Excellence in Alternative Care of Children, announced its commitment to support and strengthen family-based care and protection for millions of children in India.
This year, through a series of trainings and consultations, the Centre of Excellence seeks to bridge the gap between government policies and their implementation at ground level by sharing knowledge and information about alternative care options with regard to children.
“The vision for children includes having safer and stronger families,” said Vasundhra, Managing Trustee at the Centre’s launch. “When family is strong, then society is strong as a rule, and if family is weak, the society begins to break down.”
There are numerous reasons why children need care and protection. Poverty coupled with lack of education, unemployment, child labor, homelessness, substance abuse, poor parenting skills, physical and mental health needs, child abuse and neglect, community violence and inability to access resources are just some of the horrific challenges children of India encounter daily.
However, the new Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2015, Central Adoption Resource Authority Guidelines on Adoption 2015, the Model Guidelines on Foster Care 2015 and the Integrated Child Protection Scheme 2014 are all forward looking legislations and plans. The main purpose of the Centre of Excellence is to directly distribute the benefits of these policies to children, youth and families, as India strengthens and reforms its child protection system. The Centre of Excellence will also focus on developing kinship care and foster care.
“The Centre has the support of two major children’s service organizations,” said Ms. Gabrielle Jerome, Head of International Social Work for Core Assets. “These vision partners are the Core Assets Group and our evidenced-based partner is The Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, USA.”
The Core Assets Group has operated since 1994 in the United Kingdom. It is the largest provider of children services to local government, currently operating in eight countries under the brand Key Assets. Collectively, the Core Assets Group has looked after more than 35,000 children in foster care, with a staff of 1,400 worldwide and more than 3,000 foster caregivers. Core Assets has also established a research centre at the University of Oxford that will help identify service gaps and improve outcomes in foster care. Oxford Rees has published a considerable number of important literature reviews and has been at the forefront of several research projects.
The George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, USA. Washington University is a medium-sized, independent university counted among the world’s leaders in teaching, research, patient care and service to society. The mission of Washington University’s Brown School is to educate and prepare future social work and public health leaders in areas of policy, practice, and research; to pioneer research and apply results to impact policy and practice locally, nationally, and internationally; and to collaborate with organizations to use evidence to improve access to and quality of social services and to address social and economic justice.
The Centre of Excellence welcomes collaboration with partners from the governmental and non-governmental sectors.
Through the work of the Centre of Excellence in Alternative Care, India will see significant changes and much needed advancements in its child care and protection system in the future.