: In collaboration with the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, NACG EVAC India (National Action Coordination Group to End Violence Against Children) Delhi Chapter successfully organized a comprehensive stakeholder consultation on strengthening the child protection system. The event aimed to engage key stakeholders and experts in a constructive dialogue to address challenges and devise effective strategies for safeguarding the rights and well-being of children.
The consultation brought together more than 80 participants representatives from government agencies, civil society organizations, academia, child rights workers, children, and relevant professionals. This collaborative effort fostered an inclusive and participatory approach, enabling a holistic understanding of the issues surrounding easy access to govt schemes and generating innovative solutions.
The event commenced with a keynote address by Anurag Kundu Chairperson of DCPCR, who emphasized the significance of a robust child protection system and the collective responsibility to ensure every child's safety, dignity, and development. He highlighted the urgent need to address gaps in existing frameworks and explore collaborative approaches to provide easy access to different govt schemes meant for children.
The key panellist was Nandini Maharaj - Additional Director of the Department of Education, Ranjana Prasad, Member DCPCR Delhi, Gaurav Saini, SDM Defense Colony, South East District Delhi, Varun Pathak - Chairperson Central District, New Delhi, Vishwajeet Ghosal, Director CHILDLINE Prayas NGO, Helly Fur Kaur, Secretary DLSA, West District Tish Hazari.
Throughout the day, participants engaged in interactive sessions, panel discussions, facilitating knowledge sharing, exchange of best practices, and brainstorming of ideas. Key themes discussed included:
• Strengthening child protection laws and policies to address emerging challenges.
• Enhancing the role of communities, families, and schools in safeguarding children's rights.
• Improving coordination and cooperation among stakeholders in the child protection system.
• Enhancing access to quality child protection services and support.
• Enhancing child participation and promoting a child-friendly approach.
The stakeholder consultation also served as a platform for networking and forging new partnerships among diverse organizations and individuals committed to child protection. Participants expressed their commitment to continued collaboration and action, building upon the outcomes of the consultation to drive meaningful change at the policy, programmatic, and community levels.
Sanjay Gupta, Chairperson NACG EVAC India and Director CHETNA NGO shared that any violence against children is our core mandate. The consultation gave many fruitful suggestions such as having quarterly meetings of NGOs and the education department to discuss issues related to access of education, a single window approach for concerns and issues related to school admission, public distribution system (PDS) deprived family assessment, creating awareness on child marriage prevention and schemes at the grassroots level, sharing best practices of Ciss project implementation in other districts of Delhi as well as in states etc.
During the consultation, DCPCR launched a handbook titled "Prevention and Rehabilitation of Victims of Child Marriage: A Handbook for Stakeholders." Recognising the urgent need to address the issue of child marriage, the Commission launched a handbook which highlights the roles of the stakeholders as per the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 and the Delhi Prohibition of Child Marriage Rules, 2009. These stakeholders include Child Marriage Prohibition Officers (SDMs), District Magistrates, Teachers, Child Welfare Committees, Police, District Child Protection Units and Anganwadi Workers. The Handbook has been written in uncomplicated language with each chapter dedicated to the role of a stakeholder. It will provide practical guidance on the relevant laws as well as give operational information.
“Such consultations will be organized in 18 states by March 2024 on issues related to children,” said Sanjay Gupta.
As the stakeholder consultation drew to a close, participants left with a renewed sense of purpose and determination to work collectively towards a society where every child's rights are protected, nurtured, and respected.