Ian Anand Forber Pratt, CERI National Program Director for South East Asia and International Foster Care Organization Board Member (IFCO), presented on child protection system reform in India at the Roots Research Centre’s second International Conference.
CERI strongly advocates for replacing child institutionalization practices with family-based solutions, offering technical expertise in deinstitutionalization, foster care program development and community-based interventions to stakeholders around the world. Mr. Forber Pratt’s speech (Care Reform in a Country of 1.2+ Billion People – Gaps between Policy and Practice in Alternative Care with a Focus on Family Strengthening and Foster Care) explored how this mission can be implemented in India.
To open his presentation, Mr. Forber Pratt stated the population of the city of New Delhi is double that of the entire nation of Greece , where the conference was held. He then asked participants to brainstorm how they might approach the start of foster care and family preservation work in a country with more than 600 separate districts that are home to more than a billion people. Audience members suggested that strengthening biological families should be the first step in comprehensive reform of this magnitude. The families of vulnerable and at-risk children must first be examined to determine the possibility of reintegration, and only after all options are exhausted, proceed to recruitment of a foster family.
“Mr. Forber Pratt΄s speech was very inspiring,” said Mary Theodoropoulou, Executive Director of the Roots Research Centre (Greece National Coordinator for the Opening Doors Campaign). “We found out that in all countries, no matter how small or big, children face the same dangers of abandonment, abuse, human trafficking, and little or no education. His enthusiasm and high-quality professional skills encouraged and empowered us to continue working for children’s rights, child welfare system reform, and implementing new and improved practices.”
Conference attendees included leading child protection workers from Greece, the Netherlands, Croatia, Denmark, the USA, Belgium, Estonia, Hungary, India and Romania. Representatives from Greek governmental authorities, the Lower Court of Athens, Eurochild, International Social Services (ISS), Lumos, DNAlogy, Family for Every Child , CERI, and the Opening Doors For Europe’s Children Campaign also attended.