CERI-India trains NGOs executive teams on alternative care options for children who have been sexually exploited or trafficked
Kolkata, India – CERI-India National Program Director, Ian Anand Forber Pratt, conducted a training for the senior management of Child in Need Institute (CINI), Sanlaap, FreeToBeKids and stakeholders from International Justice Mission (IJM) regarding realistic alternative care with a focus on foster care and group foster care for children in India who have experienced sexual exploitation or trafficking. The RISE Learning Network, an organization that promotes learning on recovery and reintegration from child sexual exploitation, arranged the training.
“The interactive sessions were for practitioners working on recovery and reintegration from child sexual exploitation in a family-based care environment, particularly for those children who cannot return back to their biological families,” said Ms. Lopa Bhattacharjee, Project Coordinator at the RISE Learning Network. “These sessions helped provide clarity about the legal framework and how laws can be applied in the context of the child’s reintegration, keeping in mind their specific needs and safety issues.”
The executive teams and practitioners in attendance identified that a majority of the children in their institutions want and ask for a connection to family. They explained that family-based alternative care options are virtually non-existent in the current district and state level structures.
Mr. Ian Anand Forber Pratt, CERI's Program Director seconded to the Centre of Excellence in Alternative Care (CEAC) and a national expert on alternative care with a specialty on family foster care, provided the following statement:
"The Indian government, as well as civil society, are rapidly expanding their work to consider institutions as a last resort for children. In the midst of this shift, there is concern about how to support the needs of the most vulnerable children in need of protection, such as those who are involved in court cases, those who have experienced trauma, and those who need specialized care and protection. These trainings were designed to share the current legislative conditions, describe evidence-based theories and practices in the field of alternative care, and work with organizations to shift alternative care from thinking to action in their fields.”
One organization committed to expanding on this training by calling a multi-stakeholder meeting in early April to create an action plan to pilot alternative care options for children in Kolkata. Others in attendance asked CERI and CEAC to continue engagement as an advisor as their strategic planning and programs in development.