Every child has the right to parental care and childhood in a family environment. India has a significant number of children living away or at the risk of separation from their families. In the absence of focus on family strengthening and development of a range of appropriate care options, institutional care has become the norm for children without parental care or at risk of separation. An estimated 1.5 million children in India are living in child care institutions. This number does not include children living in residential schools, religious and other institutions that are not registered under the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act 2015.
There is a need to shift focus to strengthening families and communities to ensure care of children in their families and to create a continuum of care services that are family-based. Alternative care services are a critical component of the child protection system, and it is essential to strengthen these services with a primary focus on the best interests of children. India being a large and diverse country, offers several examples of an ongoing and developing body of work in this area. Currently, this information and action is fragmented and deserves to be documented. In 2018, many civil society organisations and individual practitioners came together to discuss learnings and challenges on issues related to the protection and well-being of children in different care settings. They identified the need for a common platform for the exchange of ideas, dialogues, interventions, learnings, knowledge and evidence. It is with that intent that IACN was formed in 2019 with the support of UNICEF India. IACN Secretariat became functional in 2020 and is hosted at Butterflies.
Facilitating the exchange of learning, dissemination of knowledge and formation of partnerships on the issues related to children without parental care or at risk of separation.
We are committed to:
The Secretariat is hosted at Butterflies and is supported by UNICEF India.
It runs under the leadership and guidance of the reference group.
The core functions of the Secretariat are as follows:
The reference group provides strategic direction and guidance to the Network. It works in close collaboration with the Secretariat towards the realisation of the mission of the Network. The reference group consists of practitioners with experience and knowledge on care and protection of children in different settings. The members of the reference group act as ambassadors of the Network and amplify its voice.
There are 13 members in the reference group. The members have a rich and diverse experience of working on the care and protection of children in different contexts.
Archana Dhar, SOS Children’s Villages of India
Ian Anand Forber-Pratt, Children's Emergency Relief International
Kiran Modi, Udayan Care
Lina Kashyap, Retired Professor, TISS
Mathew Thomas, BOSCO
Nilima Mehta, Professor & Consultant, Child Protection and Adoption
Prabhat Kumar, Save the Children
Rajendra Meher, Youth Council for Development Alternatives
Ranjan Kanti Panda, Child in Need Institute
Rita Panicker, Butterflies
Sandhyaa Mishra, Miracle Foundation India
Vandhana Kandhari, UNICEF
William Gali, Family for Every Child