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Open Gates, Open Hearts Comprehensive Care for Street Children: Handbook for Planners and Practitioners

Printed by: Print World # 9810185402

Understanding the Street Child, Approaches to Care and Building Partnerships

Indradhanush Academy Centre for Equity Studies 105/6A, 1st Floor, Adhchini, Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi-110017 Ph.: 011-26514688, 41078058 Email: Website:

Centre for Equity Studies

Indradhanush Academy, Centre For Equity Studies

Indradhanush Academy

la?k"kZ dh jkgksa esa la?k"kZ dh jkgksa esa] dksbZ rks gekjk gks---gj jkr dh ckgksa esa] lqcg dk ut+kjk gks

In this life full of strive In this life, full of strive, We long for a friend and guide... In the darkness of night We long for a dawn, warm and bright

la?k"kZ dh jkgksa esa] dksbZ rks gekjk gks---geus rks t+ekus dh] jaft'k dks gh ih Mkyk pqHkrs gq, gj iy dks] gl [ksy ds th Mkyk D;ksa iwN jgs gks rqe] D;k geus xok;k gS thou dh rks cl NksM+ks] gj [okc ijk;k gS la?k"kZ dh jkgksa esa] dksbZ rks gekjk gks---oks iy Hkh Fkk viuk] ;s iy Hkh gekjk gS la?k"kZ dh jkgksa esa] vc dksbZ gekjk gS---oks jkrsa feV gh xbZ] ,d lqcg vkbZ u;h py jgs veu dh jkgksa ij] gj [okc gekjk gS ,d vk'kk veu dh] gS vc bl fny esa dksbZ jkg u vc jksds] dqN dj ds fn[kkuk gS c<+k,axs ge dne dks] feVk;saxs gj xae dks pysaxs mu jkgksa ij] tgk¡ ls fn[krk fdukjk gS la?k"kZ dh jkgksa esa] gj dksbZ gekjk gS----

In this life full of strife, We long for a friend and guide… We swallow hatred and the vile Stringing moments, with a smile Why do you ask, what have we lost, Not just life, even our dreams went past... In this life, full of strife We long for a friend and guide… In this life, full of strife We long for a friend and guide… In this life, full of strive, We have someone as a guide and friend… That past was ours, this present is ours In this life, full of strive, Now we have someone as a guide and friend… Those nights have passed, there dawns a new sun Walking on the paths of peace, every dream is ours There is a ray of hope in this heart There is no stopping us; we have to achieve something now We will take a step forward, remove all the pain We will walk on paths in life, from where the shore is near In this life, full of strive, We have everyone as a guide and friend…

Written by one of the child from Sneh Ghars in Delhi

Open Hearts, Open Gates…”

Comprehensive Care for Street Children: Handbook for Planners and Practitioners Understanding the Street Child, Approaches to Care and building Partnerships

Indradhanush Academy Centre for Equity Studies

Content Introduction


Chapter 1: Intervention for Street Children: Common Approaches


Chapter 2: Recommended Approach


Chapter 3: Implementation Plan Phase I


Chapter 4: Implementation Plan Phase II (Long-term Planning)


Annexure 1: Abbreviations




Introduction Ensuring the Right to Education of Urban Deprived Children : Providing Care and Education for Street-childrem The Government of India, through SSA and other initiatives, has been able to work with State governments and citizen groups to expand significantly the availability of primary schooling at the doorstep of most children in the country. But there remains a stubborn core of children that an even more expanded network of schools would not be able to bring into school, even if the school is at the neighbourhood of where the children live. These are children who survive in the most difficult circumstances, and face formidable barriers to schooling. These include disabled children, children of migrant workers, children in conflict and disaster areas, children of stigmatized parentage (e.g. scavenger communities and sex-workers), rural working children and urban street children. Every child growing up in India has today a fundamental right to good quality schooling. The street child is entitled to this right no less than any other child. But children of the street face extraordinary challenges to access their fundamental right. They are homeless, may have no family, or may have run away from abusive and violent homes. They work to survive in the most unsafe and unsanitary street based vocations, ranging from ragpicking, selling goods at traffic lights, begging, casual sex work and sometimes petty crime. This Booklet outlines ways that street children in these most difficult situations can access their right to education. This is possible only when their other rights are also simultaneously ensured: their right to protection, food, health care and childhood. For a homeless child, this is usually possible only in residential schools. Every city needs hundreds of such residential schools for street and other urban deprived children, like migrant children. SSA has finally recognized this, and their revised norms make provision for this. This note attempts to describe how state and urban local governments can undertake this programme of open residential schools for street and other urban deprived children on a large scale. Background More and more children are taking to streets for a variety of reasons and an alarmingly miniscule proportion are being reached out to by state and non-state actors. It is estimated that out of these less than 2 per cent of street youth and children are reached by the Prepared by Sveta Dave Chakravarty and Harsh Mander with inputs from Shashi Mendiratta, Satya Pillai, K. Anuradha, V. Bahadur, Preeti Mathew and Ambika Kapoor for Indradhanush Academy, Centre for Equity Studies



custodial juvenile homes and less than 5 per cent by all NGO interventions. In Delhi, the national capital, for instance, there are an estimated 50,000 street children. In a recent case in the High Court, it emerged that around 1200 are reached by custodial juvenile homes of the state government, and 1500 by all NGOs (but very few provide mainstream education and comprehensive residential care). There are also serious limitations to the conventional state approaches such as custodialising such children in unfree homes. NGO models are of uneven quality, and diverse approaches; those that have merit are often too cost intensive to be replicable on the scale that is a dire requirement. Children take to the streets for many reasons. An important distinction is made between children and youth on the streets, and children and youth of the streets. Children and youth of the street have no adult protection, usually because they have chosen to snap their ties with their families and run away, or because their guardians have died, or are in jail, or are lost. They are the most vulnerable, because a child needs the care of adults as she grows. Children and youth on the street do retain contact with their families in the city, who may also live on the street or in slums. However, because of extreme poverty, substance abuse or irresponsible parentage, the children are left largely to their own devices. At an early age they learn to find food and earn money for themselves, and often for their families: they may beg, forage in rubbish heaps for food and recyclable materials. Street children are brave but profoundly vulnerable survivors. They often have run away from drunken and intensely violent fathers, cruel step-parents, incest, starvation, parents who cannot or fail to support or take care of them, and even horrendous massacres. Some are lost or abandoned, or their parents have died or are in jail. They brave, usually with groups of other street children, the harsh adult world of the streets. Like little adults, they negotiate with spirit and audacity the brutalised life of pavements, public parks, railway and bus stations, and waste dumps. They learn to live by their wits on the street, find food, work or beg to get money, fight for whatever they need, and fend off older bullies and the police. At an early age, they often learn to beg, at places of worship or traffic lights, or forage in rubbish heaps not only for food but also for various materials that can be sold for recycling. As they grow older, girls are often drawn into domestic or sometimes even casual street-based sex work, whereas boys may diversify from rag picking to working in garages and catering establishments. Since they often lack responsible adult protection, it is the legal obligation of the State to ensure their protection and rights to education, food, health care, and indeed to a safe and care-free childhood. The state in India first accepted the legal responsibility to look after children without responsible adult protection almost a century back, in the 1920s, when the first Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Acts were enacted in Madras and Bombay presidencies. But although the theoretical premise of such legislation was to provide vulnerable children care and protection by the state, its language and provisions were overlaid with the bias that the child who is deprived of family care is â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;badâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, or at least potentially bad, hence needs to 4

be safely locked up, for the sake of the larger society as much as the child. This attitude still defines the practice of our law for vulnerable children almost a century later and the continued preference for custodialising children even when the law does not require it. The colonial laws classified these children into different categories such as neglected, orphaned, destitute, vagrant and delinquent children. The neglected, orphaned, destitute and the vagrant children were sent to observation homes, classifying centres, approved schools, remand homes, orphanages, and fit persons’ homes; and delinquent children were sent to certified schools, industrial schools, borstal schools and other reformatory institutions. Later in 1960, the Parliament enacted a central law, the Children’s Act, to safeguard the children from abuse and exploitation. Later, with a view to providing a uniform pattern of justice to the juveniles (young persons) throughout the country, the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) was enacted in 1986. The Act provided for the care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of neglected children and laid down a uniform legal framework to ensure that no child under any circumstances is lodged in jail or kept in police-lock up. But the JJ Act, 1986 was criticised on many counts by child rights activists, most importantly because it laid too much emphasis on institutionalisation of children. The 1986 Juvenile Justice Act was therefore ultimately repealed, and was replaced by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (JJA). There are many progressive features in the JJ Act 2000. One is that the definition of the term ‘juvenile’ and ‘child’ has been altered to mean a person who has not completed the 18th year of age. The term ‘neglected juvenile’ has been replaced with ‘child in need of care and protection,’ and the term ‘delinquent juvenile’ has been changed to a less stigmatised ‘juvenile in conflict with law’. Street children are mainly in the first category, but sometimes they are also alleged to have entered in conflict with the law. The revised SSA framework (2011) provides hope: it specifically names children without adult protection as a disadvantaged category of children: “Children on the streets may suffer from many denials and vulnerabilities: these include deprivation of responsible adult protection, coercion to work to eat each day, work in unhealthy occupations like ragpicking, begging and sex work, abysmally poor sanitary conditions, inadequate nutrition from begging, a range of psychosocial stresses, physical abuse and sexual exploitation, and exposure to hard drug abuse” (SSA Framework 2011, p. 16) and calls for their needs to be addressed by the State as an important part of the equity agenda.




Intervention for Street Children: Common Approaches

There are mainly three major approaches to interventions with street children, state and non-state. Whereas there is a great diversity of approaches, we classify three broad categories based on different ideological convictions: 1. Custodial Care Approaches Although the JJ Act 2000 law has pushed the frontiers of alternate possibilities, institutionalisation continues to dominate the state response to children in care of need and protection and those deemed to be in conflict with the law. The implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, in effect has tended to continue to limit state response to very vulnerable children, to locking them away for extended periods behind high walls of prison-like institutions, with little or no concern for the child’s emotional needs, the needs for personalised nurturing and caring, the child’s education, best interests, and future. Despite the elaborate systems of care and protection for the children in need that are laid down in the statutes and rulebooks, growing up in institutions is not a happy experience for any child. In theory, the custodial guardian takes the place of the parents. However, in practice, children achieve neither emotional security nor material well-being in most children’s homes. Institutions both for vulnerable children and those in conflict with the law are usually hidden from the public view and conscience, except for occasional scandals of extreme outrages, which flicker briefly in the public eye before dying out. In State institutions, boys and girls are usually segregated in large halls, and sometimes the same room doubles as a school. Their main adult contacts are the custodial staff, who comes in on shifts. Due to the large number of inmates and pressure of work, and the impersonal character of government functioning, there is little scope for developing intimate relationships between the staff and children. The dormitory is hardly conducive for children to develop close ties amongst themselves, as the atmosphere is charged with regimentation and competition. Under these circumstances, the child cannot develop a positive self-image. Typically, most such institutions lack facilities for recreation and play, which are so vital to a child’s happiness and growth. An austere life of cold and bare physical survival is the fate of most institutionalised children. Children who have been brought up in various State homes routinely describe these as ‘children’s jails’, or sometimes chillar jails (chillar means ‘small change’). Even though the confined children are physically provided for – food, clothes, schooling, and medicines – they rebel against the loveless environments intrinsic to all institutions. Many street youth 6

testify to spending their entire childhoods being captured and then running away from one or the other institutions. Cut off from the larger community, behind their opaque walls, corruption and institutionalized systems of bullying and sexual and physical abuse are known to pervade these homes. The children raised in these homes are typically withdrawn or violent, and find it hard to integrate with the larger world into which they are ejected as soon as the State is not bound by the law to protect them. It is both absurd and heartless for children to be locked up only because they have no one to protect them. It is argued that this is done for the sake of the child: if the child was free in the community, the State would be unable to protect the child from abuse, and therefore she is locked up for her own good. This is as illogical as saying that when a woman is gang-raped, and the State is unable to arrest her tormentors, instead they lock her up for her own safety. The State must find ways to protect the child who is in need of care in ways that respect the child’s right to a happy and free childhood, while at the same time ensuring her protection, and her rights to food, education, health care, recreation, love and security. The alternative approach under SSA, the Residential Bridge Course (RBC), was the sole option to provide street-children with residential bridge education so that they could be enrolled in mainstream schools. The RBC, however, works best to mainstream working children who have impoverished but responsible families, and adult protection. After an intensive scientific residential bridge education, which includes curricular and life skill elements, the child is ‘mainstreamed’ into regular school after returning to her family. But our street children often have no family to which they can or wish to return, to pursue their education. Therefore with RBCs, the child will be ‘mainstreamed’ back to her original life on the streets, which is very unfortunate. A child is not a ‘project’ but a precious life, and once we pull the child away from the survival strategies that the child has bravely developed on the streets; we have no right to send them back to the same situation, until the child or youth is ready for independent living. 2. Street Based Approaches These approaches are based on the premise that children and youth have the right to choose whether or not they wish to stay and remain on the streets; and should continue to retain their independent agency and economic independence, which they have fought for at a young age, and which they value highly. They have a sense of belonging to the streets, and find within it emotional and material satisfaction. In street based approaches, the attempt is to meet and partner the child on the streets through a large variety of innovative street based approaches. These include drop-in shelters, contact centres, night shelters, evening classes, play activities in public parks, de-addiction and health services etc. Each of these are low-cost replicable interventions, with very modest staff and infrastructure needs, and are accessible and non-threatening to a child. These interventions need a small team of outreach workers. Children can also 7

take up roles like peer counsellors, advocates, health educators and facilitators. The funds for such projects are mostly restricted to staff salaries and training programmes. There is no per child cost incurred to meet the basic needs of the child, on the assumption that they take care of their own needs. In summary, the basic premise of this approach is that we must respect the right of the child to choose being on the streets. It is based on building on the survival skills that children have developed while being on the streets. Life of the streets also gives a lot of freedom to each child. They are not tied down to any routine. Educational programmes work on the sets of skills that they have already achieved, in the time and spaces that suit the child. For instance, children have not learnt counting in a classroom. But they know very well how to count the money they earn. They can do double and three digit additions, even though they have not been through graded classroom lessons. It also acknowledges their need for income, and respects their economic independence. It provides non-formal modes of education for children, which provide enough time to earn as Aman Vedika model in Andhra Pradesh well. The income so earned can be saved through has set up residential schools for chilsaving schemes offered by NGOs. Health care and dren without adult protection, as part of existing schools in Hyderabad. This has counseling support is provided. been found to have many advantages: not only low costs, but the integration of children with families and homes with those who have been deprived, to the great pedagogic advantage of both. Many government schools also welcomed this, because it has pushed up the enrolment in the schools, and made them more viable.

The biggest disadvantage of this approach is that it accepts that children will continue to work at an age when they should be in schools. While they get support from street based approaches, the nonformal education programmes may provide more chances of being literate that being educated. They have limited options for careers, except in some low-end options like rag-picking and unskilled labour, or a career in crime, with limited chances for higher education. After the passage of the Right to Education Act, in fact, an approach that supports the child being out of school is, in our opinion, no more a legally tenable option. When children are required to take decisions like adults, they face difficulties on the street and have to sort it out themselves. Thus here what they are missing is responsible and caring adult protection. The child continues to perform adult roles on the streets; they take their own decisions and have discretion to spend their money. Thus they start handling money at an age when they are not capable of choosing which option is better for them. For example, there are high chances of substance abuse among children. They are free to buy drugs on the streets. Even though a de-addiction programme may be

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Dosti Programâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; is conceptualized with the objective of helping children from Sneh Ghars to interact with Children living with Families.



provided, relapse of these habits can occur from time to time just because they have the freedom and money to buy it. The street environment is stressful, dangerous and highly unhygienic. They are also denied access to nutritious food, and health care services. They grow up with many ailments, mental health problems born out of abuse and neglect, and often drug dependence. There is insufficient research, but we find a large number of such children die very early. We talk often of ‘missing girls and women’ in India. We believe that there are also ‘missing street children and youth’. 3. Non-custodial Comprehensive Care This approach attempts to secure the rights of the most vulnerable urban child by extending to these children voluntary comprehensive care in open residential homes. It is based on the premise that a child’s rights to protection, education, food, health care and recreation must be upheld, but in ways that do not take away the freedom of choice of the child, in the ways state custodial institutions do. The main strategies of this approach are:

Sister Cyril of Loreto School, Sealdah, has shown how it is fully feasible to provide full education to both regular and street children. The Loreto homes are all located within existing schools. The children enjoy the benefits of being inside a regular school with all the activities, the interaction with the more privileged peer group of the regular school, the rough and tumble of normal school life and the friendly interaction with other children of various backgrounds, creeds and castes. This positive environment enables each child to grow and reach her full potential. When girls come off the street, they have to be prepared during the initial period for attending classes. They will not go to a regular school until they can fit into a class of approximately their own age group. This normally takes one year or less. They are taught on a one to one basis by the regular children of the school during their obligatory Work Education classes.


Reaching out to the most vulnerable urban child: those alone on the streets, in detention centres, or at great risk because of being forced to live on the streets, sexual and physical abuse, parents who are violent or substance users, or starvation.


Guaranteeing comprehensive, long term care to the child, and her rights to protection, love, food, health care, recreation and education, in voluntary open non-custodial homes. These are guaranteed to the child with no conditionalities, with love but no sense of charity, and for as long as the child needs these, as one would ensure for one’s own child.


Ensuring integration with children in families, mainly by trying to open residential homes in existing schools, but also by opening education facilities in homes to poor and out of school children in the communities in which the homes are located, by a wide volunteer base, and by a ‘dosti programmes’ with children in more privileged schools.


This approach involves the following main steps: (a) Commitment to long term comprehensive residential care: The necessary but not sufficient condition for street children to avail of their right to education is to ensure that they access first their rights to shelter, security, assured and nutritious food, health care and love. Recognizing that children’s basic needs must be met (i.e. food, shelter, health) before they can focus on education, these services are integrated into the educational model. This is possible only with residential homes, which should be available to the child for his or her entire childhood and youth. These homes are open and voluntary, so they can hold the proud and freedom-loving street child. They are ‘homes’, not merely night shelters. A home is a place of security and basic comfort where one resides permanently whereas a ‘night shelter’ provides shelter only for the night and takes no responsibility for the children’s well being during the day. It also accepts that children will work during the day.

Excepts from SSA Frame Work 2011 2.5.2 Overcoming barriers to opening new schools, up gradation and expansion of schools….Provision of hostels for urban deprived children without adult protection is primarily to provide them with institutional care and support facilities to address their vulnerability. 2.5.3 Special Training for out-of-school children: The RTE Act makes specific provision for Special Training for ageappropriate admission for out-of-school children. A majority of out-of-school children belong to disadvantaged communities: scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, Muslims, migrants, children with special needs, urban deprived children, working children, children in other difficult circumstances, for example, those living in difficult terrain, children from displaced families, and areas affected by civil strife, etc need Special Training.

(b) Model should be large scale and replicable: The aim is to have strategies which can potentially reach all street children, in the spirit of the constitutional commitment to extend education to every child, including surely those who are most vulnerable, at risk and deprived. This is possible only with literally hundreds of community based residential homes cum hostels for street children in every city and town. (c) Comprehensive holistic educational model: For the street child, the hostel is also their only home, therefore education that a child derives otherwise from family and local community is integrated consciously into their model. This approach develops methodologies and pedagogies to assist the street child, to best prepare the children for the formal school, for work in the modern economy, but most of all for a happy, healthy, responsible life. Experience has shown that street children, who have the freedom to leave whenever they choose, need an exciting education programme, which appears to them to be relevant to their lives, before they will start to engage with the learning process. Likewise, the approach includes strategies for healing and building further the emotional and physical health of the children. It seeks to understand better ways of building contact and trust with the children on 10

the streets, of running homes as places of security, of love but also of learning for life, and better ways of attracting and supporting volunteers. (d) Community Involvement and Services: The Sneh Ghars are often located within poor communities, with many slum children. Since the slum residents are often found to be hostile to the resident street children, it is important to open the doors of the homes also to these under-privileged children, for bridge and remedial education, food and recreation. This also expands the integration of street children with neighbouring children who have families. The same services of bridge, enrichment and vocational education as well as one meal (mid-day or evening) are provided for under-privileged children of the community during hours in which the regular school is not functioning, and this needs to be funded separately in the programme. This approach believes that there are serious limitations to the conventional State and some NGO approaches. If they provide long-term care, these are by custodialising such children, locking them up in loveless environments, leaves them vulnerable to abuse, loneliness and low self-esteem. Street children, more than others, long for freedom of choice and agency, and these homes rob these from them.




The Recommended Approach

For street children who lack adult protection, there is no rights-based option except open voluntary non-custodial residential schools, which alone can enable these children to access their rights to education, protection, food and health care. These can be built on a large scale by integrating these in existing day schools, on the Rainbow Model pioneered by Sister Cyril in the Loreto Convent, Sealdah. But the approach does not exclude creating new residential schools where considered necessary. This third approach is preferred above all to secure on scale the childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rights: to protection, food, education, health care, recreation and love for all children who live and work on the streets. Since a child without adult protection on the streets cannot be expected to study, unless they have Sneh Ghar in protected environments, health care including counselling and drug de-addiction, and they are fed nutritious food, these should be seen as an integral part of the educational process for which ultimately the school department is responsible. These would be through voluntary access of these children to community based residential homes for these children, with all meals, protection, bridge education, health care, healthy recreation, leading to regular schooling and the opportunity of eventual family integration. For children with active links with their families, the issue is more complex. Being in dysfunctional biological families is not in the best interests of children. A child who 12

Excepts from SSA Frame Work 2011 -Redeploying public buildings and infrastructure: Lack of buildings because of the high cost of real estate in cities is the severest bottle-neck to providing facilities for urban deprived, vulnerable children. The Government can at best fund a few â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;modelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; hostels, but this would not cover the tens of thousands of street children in every city. Most State and local governments have large unused and under-utilized buildings and infrastructure, which need to be redeployed and shared with street children. The best and most economical approach, and one that has the potential to reach every street child, is to share spaces in existing schools that are vacant. Such buildings may need only small additions for toilets, bathing places and a kitchen. Such an approach also has the potential to lead to integration, dignity and the learning hands-on of egalitarian compassion and pluralism. -Refurbishing unused old buildings: The sharing of existing schools should be the preferred model. But it is also possible to secondarily rely on refurbishing unused old buildings, with additions and alterations. The State and municipal governments have many buildings that are unused and underused which can be allotted and upgraded as residential homes. These can be old school buildings, or other municipal or other departmental buildings. Ideally these residential schools should also be developed as regular primary schools, so they approximate the first model over a period of time. -New residential facilities: The last option would be the construction of new residential facilities for children without adult protection, in which case the norms pertaining to KGBVs would apply. The civil works costs of the hostels will be within the existing ceiling for civil works per district.

is growing up needs a stable, secure environment with stable and reliable care givers. But if the child has a loving family, whose only difficulty is that they are homeless, destitute, and maybe disabled and surviving mainly on alms, the choices are even more difficult. Where indeed in these circumstances do the best interests of the children lie? The ideal is if we are able to support the family as a unit, and to help the entire family including the child to emerge from the conditions of homelessness and destitution. But it is realistic to accept that this is a very difficult task to accomplish, and there is currently near- zero official effort in this direction. Therefore for these children, we still must offer them residential hostels which do not separate the children from their families in terms of family bonds and respect. But they are required to give the child the space and environment in which they can study, play and enjoy a safe and happy childhood. Middle class families often resort to boarding schools for special reasons; why should this be opposed for street children, especially when it can protect them from violent and unsafe environments? Open homes need and can build in systems of transparency and participation which guard against the abuses of involuntary custodialisation. We also recognize that for a growing child, family is the best institution, even with all its limitations. But this does not mean necessarily the biological family. When a child chooses to leave her family, it is not a decision she takes lightly, and it must be respected. Therefore along with repatriation to biological families but only when the child freely consents to this, there are several other options which we strongly believe in and will work towards: adoption, supported foster care, unsupported foster care, sponsorship, and supported group living. A commonly asked question is why school and college premises should be deployed additionally as shelters at night. It is not just that most school and college teaching spaces are vacant during the night and the same space can be used by dispossessed children who do not have a place to sleep, without significant extra cost. Far more importantly, this would give the schools an opportunity to fulfil their social commitments as responsible social institutions, and teach children and young people first hand social empathy and social responsibility. Implementing the SSA Framework Since the Right to Education Act (RTE), became law in April 2010, entitling all children between the ages of 6 to 14 to free and compulsory education based on principles of equity and non-discrimination, the revised SSA framework (2011) has been aligned with the legally enforceable, justiciable rights-based framework of RTE: the incentives- and provisions-based approach to universalizing elementary education has been replaced by an entitlement-based approach. The new SSA framework acknowledges that 10 years after the launch of SSA, children are still out of school mostly due to barriers to their participation in the mainstream education system. The policy takes cognizance of learnings emerging from previous cycles of SSA: that institutionalized discrimination continues to keep children out of education systems, that unlike monolithic government 13

systems, it is civil society that has been successful in addressing the education needs of the various target groups-minorities, urban deprived children, girls, children with disabilities, children in conflict zones; and that the State can learn from these initiatives. The new SSA-RTE policy seeks to look systematically at needs, to gather information about what appears to work in smaller arenas, mostly civil-society initiatives, and to harness that knowledge and those partners to articulate new policy based on considered, trialed strategies to address real needs on the ground. Within this group of “last” children are the streetchildren in urban centers in India. Education cannot be provided to these children in a systematic and sustained way without first providing residential care. Until recently the State fulfilled its obligation mainly by locking up these children in State-run closed institutions, “for their own good,” to protect them from the harsh realities of the street. With the notification of the rights-based framework of RTE, custodial care and education of children is no longer allowable by law. In acknowledgement of this reality, the SSA-RTE 2011 framework includes a program for the rights-based, non-custodial residential care and education of street- and homeless children within the category of “Urban Deprived Children,” to be implemented by State Governments across the country. This is an Enabling Framework, but if States are to provide education to every last child, they would need to use the enabling provisions to design interventions that address the specific needs of street-children. Recognizing that providing education to streetchildren first entails providing shelter, food and healthcare, the new policy calls for setting up residential facilities for street-children in urban centers (Residential Special Training Centres, RSTCs) and provides three options:


Excepts from SSA Frame Work 2011 Special Training for never enrolled children or those who dropped out before completing elementary education would require an identification of children who must be enrolled. For this the State Government, Local Authority and School Management Committee will need to undertake a community level schoolmapping exercise. The neighborhood and school mapping exercise will be followed by (i) immediate enrolment in school (ii) organization of Special Training of flexible duration to enable the child to be at par with other children, (iii) actual admission of the child in the age-appropriate class on completion of Special Training, and his/ her participation in all class activities, (iv) continued support to the child, once admitted to the regular school, so that the child can integrate with the class socially, emotionally and academically. The RTE Act also provides that such children shall continue to be provided free and compulsory elementary education even after they cross 14 years of age. For urban deprived and children without adult protection: Children on the streets may suffer from many denials and vulnerabilities: these include deprivation of responsible adult protection, coercion to work to eat each day, work in unhealthy occupations like rag-picking, begging and sex work, abysmally poor sanitary conditions, inadequate nutrition from begging, a range of psychosocial stresses, physical abuse and sexual exploitation, and exposure to hard drug abuse. For such children SSA will provide support for residential facilities as per the following interventions.


Residential facilities to be created in existing schools (the most viable option, given the paucity of land and unused buildings in urban centers on the one hand, and the fact that school space is only used for a fraction of the day on the other),


Residential facilities to be created in un- or under-utilized public buildings that are not schools, and


Construction of new buildings if land is available and the above options are not applicable.

Children are to be enrolled in regular schools and provided bridge education within the schools to bring them up to age-appropriate competency levels, at which point they enter the regular school program. Residential facilities must be provided till completion of Class 8, even if the child is older than 14. The policy calls for providing professional development for sensitization of all functionaries to equity issues and in non-discriminatory practices, and for the development of inclusive curricula, which focus on the holistic development of the child. The policy also calls for empanelling of experts and resource agencies to build the capacity of government support institutions and for civil society networks and community participation to represent the interests of the children in School Management Committees at the local level. Finally, the policy provides for an independent monitoring body, the National and State Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), to ensure effective implementation on the ground. Effective implementation of a program for educating street-children would include convergences between Departments and Schemes, a street-mobilization component, and guidelines for forging partnerships between the State and civil society organizations with experience in the field, and for developing and implementing appropriate residential and education programmes. We would also need to establish smooth systems for timely fund releases to the implementing organisations. Many of these are small organisations with no funds backup, and they cannot handle fund delays. In the end, it is the quality of services to the children that suffers.




Implementation Plan Phase I

In light of the recommendations in Chapter 2, a systematic plan needs to be carried for working with urban deprived children, the details of which are given in the following steps: Step 1: Establishment of Task Force for Urban Deprived Children To really make a difference on the ground and reach every last child in the uban deprived category under SSA, the first step is establishing a small, cohesive task force under SSA at State level to provide political and administrative leadership to State, District and City officials to implement the policy, and a team of experts to provide technical support and build capacity at all levels. The Task Force must include representives of School Education and Training and Coordination, and most important-nodal officials from Finance and the Estate/Capital Works Branches (terminology varies by State) to coordinate the infrastructure needs and sanctions. All of these Branches will have a key role in making the project successful. SCERT must also be affiliated to customize curriculum and conduct relevant professional development programs. Inclusion of Experts The State Task Force must also include people with a strong track record in the provision of non-custodial care and education to street-children. The team of experts will facilitate development of implementation plans and provide sustained support for building capacity at all levels for effective implementation and monitoring, while ensuring that the ownership of the project vision and goals rests with the State officials. Inclusion of Civil Society Partners Finally, the State Task Force must include civil society partners such as Schools of Social Work, Nehru Yuva Kendra, NSS, and State-level, rights-based institutions working to promote equity for minority and other disadvantaged groups. Step 2: Establish City-level Teams The first step for the Task Force would be to identify the cities to initiate the project and constitute city-level teams to lead the implementation process. Urban Local Body and SSA officials must be a part of each city- team, to be coordinated by the highest Districtlevel Education Official (designation varies by State). The key tasks of the State Task Force include motivating city-teams, ensuring open channels of communication, empowering the teams by ensuring they have the information and skills 16

they need, mentoring them, giving each person a voice in planning and implementation, and making sure they have the ownership and confidence to fufill their role. All the rest will follow easily if the State Task Force is successful in developing thinking, motivated teams. Models for Demonstrability Direct interaction with street-children themselves, on the streets and in the model homes, has a profound impact on everyone, whether government or non-government, since most of us are generally far removed from this reality and may not have interacted with this group of children. Members of the State Task Force must be provided the opportunity to interact with some children and to visit some of the different models of non-custodial homes as well as the schools that are serving the children from these homes. The resulting engagement with the program can be expected to be far deeper, and the ensuing dialogue and exploration of the needs of the children and of strategies to fill these needs will result in powerful plans. Step 3: Calculate the numbers of residential schools required: assume that 0.5% of city population is of street children. Divide this by 100 per school. You will get number of residential schools the city needs to cover all street children in the city. The city-task force must initiate planning by first ensuring that there are places of residence for the children. Step 3 (a): Identify schools for conversion to residential schools @ 25 schools every six months. The SSA framework suggests that the best approach-and “one that indeed has the potential of enabling States to reach every street child” is to share spaces in existing schools, that are vacant about 16 hours every day, the very hours in which a street child is most vulnerable. Sister Cyril in Loreto, Sealdah, has shown how this is fully feasible as an integral part of full education of both regular and street or as she calls them ‘rainbow’ children. The same building needs only small additions for toilets, bathing places and a kitchen. It also leads to integration, dignity and the learning hands-on of egalitarian compassion and pluralism. SSA Hyderabad has developed an exemplary model of conversion of regular schools to residential schools on a large scale, very rapidly. Local level teams must identify schools with proactive Principals who are interested in partnering with the program. Step 3 (b): Identify Other Under-utilized Public Buildings Where schools cannot be converted into residential schools, the RTE-SSA framework makes 17

provision for redeploying and refurbishing unused old buildings, with additions and alterations. The city teams will require support to develop a system for identifying and preparing old school buildings, or other municipal or other departmental buildings for use as residences. While the Estate Office will oversee allocation of buildings, it is most likely that the best information about unused school buildings resides at ground level, with the coordinators of the Urban Resource Centres or Cluster Resource Centres set up under SSA. Process The City Task Force should constitute a team for identification of schools and other suitable buildings at district level with officials from SSA, Education, Urban local body, Municipal administration and the corresponding engineering department. There should be a joint assessment by the responsible community-based group, School Headmaster and officials for identification of renovation requirements. Child safety measures should be given high priority. Step 3 (c): Draw up refurbishing plans for each school, taking the help of architects devoted to low cost and appropriate technologies, and ensure refurbishing in a short time trying to cause minimum disturbance to the running school The same team will liaise with the State Task Force nodal official for Infrastructure and ensure allocation of resources for renovation and modification of buildings to be specified up to 10 lakhs. This team is


Excepts from SSA Frame Work 2011 Despite these initiatives, there is a growing need for systemic and coordinated efforts to provide solutions on an institutional basis to urban issues. Thus to implement RTE in urban areas, SSA would adopt a more holistic and systems approach. This approach would necessitate coordination and convergence of interventions across Departments, local bodies, civil society organizations and the private sector. SSA would encourage a diversity of interventions planned and executed in integrated, collaborative and cohesive manner to tackle the unique challenges in urban areas. This would require planning distinctively for the urban areas either as separate plans or as part of District Plans in the case of smaller towns. In either case, this would require partnership with NGOs, Municipal bodies, etc. Mapping and identification of out of school children in urban areas may require special efforts. Whole city planning for ensuring coverage of all eligible children in the drive for UEE would be rigorously adopted in SSA. The Municipal Corporation of larger cities will be considered as â&#x20AC;&#x153;districtâ&#x20AC;? for purposes of preparation of Elementary Education Plans. The arrangements for decentralized management will also apply to these proposals. These proposals can be developed by Municipal Corporations and the State government will have to recommend these for funding under SSA, clearly specifying the source from which the State share would be provided. All SSA norms will apply to urban areas. Besides wards, urban slum clusters etc. have so far been units of planning in different cities. However, experience has shown that these units need to be more micro so as to effectively address the idea behind habitation planning. More thinking and deliberation in this context would help in equitable planning for urban deprived children.

also responsible for handing over the schools to identified implementation groups with all necessary modifications. Renovation of infrastructure should be completed within six months after the identification of the buildings. It is important that facilities created for the residential children should be made available exclusively for them. Encroachment of these facilities by other students and school management deprive the comforts of the residential children. Step 3 (d): Provision for Construction of new Buildings: In case vacant buildings are not available a provision for construction of buildings for housing the children has been provided as per the revised norms of SSA under the RTE Act. Step 4: Social Mobilization and Mapping Step 4 (a): Each city-team will need to identify a group of social mobilizers to directly work with children on streets, mapping their locations, identifying those with homeless parents and those without any adult protection, identifying their livelihoods and vulnerabilities, and meeting them on the streets, and preparing them and their guardians. It is not sufficient for the State to create supply channels, by setting up homes for the comprehensive care and education of street-children. Having faced abuse at home, on the streets, and in custodial-care institutions, street-children are very distrustful of adults and of institutions ostensibly set up for their care. Social Mobilisation should be considered a key area of work with urban deprived children and mobilization costs must be included in the budget. An important enabling component of this initiative would be a structured program for community workers to meet the children regularly on the streets, and build their trust and secure their informed and free consent to move into the homes. Without this component, it is most likely that the residences will be filled with children from the local communities, which is the fate of many programs ostensibly meant for street-children. The basis for identification of children would be a pre-defined Vulnerability Scale. (Annexure 1) It will be important for each city team to build a permanent youth team, youth closer in age to the children and easily able to connect with them to do this, and without which these children may not be reached. This team will then start talking to the children, to understand their individual stories, to build trust and eventually to persuade them to get off the street. It is likely that the most effective social mobilization partners will be community-based organizations that have a track record in mobilizing youth for service, possibly with already organized youth brigades, and those that have a record of running efficient residential 19

programs. It is therefore important to broaden the search and look for unconventional partners who are generally overlooked in a State-led process of civil society partnership development. The size of the team would be determined by the population of the city (approximately 1 social mobiliser per 1 lakh population). The team would need to be trained with the help of the experts in the State Task Force, on the basis of previously developed training manuals. The team of social mobilisers will also report to the city task force. Step 4 (b): Preliminary Survey for Mapping Street Child Clusters, Profile and Services Available The mapping strategy in any city focuses on finding the locations where there are high concentrations of street-children and identifying the community-based organizations and NGOs who serve them. It is also important to understand what services are being provided and where. For example, in some cities the CWC is especially active and regularly rounds up street-children and puts them in their centers and short-stay homes, which are often already overflowing. Understanding the nature of the services these and other organizations provide, including institutional care, adoption, foster-care etc. is part of the initial field survey. Step 5: Select organizations to run each residential school, with preference to youth and community organisations, and those with prior experience of working for the education of urban deprived children. A key step will be to identify NGOs and CBOs experienced in providing quality education and/or care to the most disadvantaged children at city-level and smaller, but still high quality, NGOs, CBOs and informal community groups at local level. Certain non-negotiables must inform the selection process: ••

T he selected organisations must believe in running non custodial homes for children


They must have a Rights-based approach


T hey must show willingness to work with government as well as broaden civil society participation


T hey must be from, headed by, or actively engaged with marginalized groups (e.g. Dalits/minorities /women)


They must be transparent and open to public scrutiny


They must be secular and democratic


Step 6: Organise joint trainings of the staff of these organisations, and the Headmasters/ headmistresses and teachers of these schools. Building Understanding, Defining Mission, Goals and Core Beliefs The most critical task is to ensure that all the individuals serving one school become a team, with shared beliefs about democracy and secular values, and deep conviction about child rights and shared goals for ensuring them. Another key training need is building understanding of street-children, their strengths and vulnerabilities, understanding these children and how to engage with them, to welcome and support the new children, and to value and build on their strengths. There is much to learn from the efforts of Sister Cyril, the MV Foundation, Don Bosco, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, the National Literacy Campaign and the Centre of Equity Studiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Dil Se Campaign in Hyderabad and Delhi. A third key training area is defining the goals, understanding the statutory requirements and flexibilities in the system e.g. necessary certificates like caste, date of birth, orphan etc have to be issued by designated authorities, and accepted by school management; ensuring accountability and transparency. Accountability will come when each member of the implementation team understands his/her role and has the requisite skills to execute it. If the team develops the program plan together, identifying needs and outcomes, and activities and resources and skills needed to ensure those outcomes, they will be able to develop a monitoring framework themselves, and will hold themselves accountable for its delivery. Building Capacity in Home Management The home (RSTC) has to ensure that children get nutritious food, health care, and education in the home, schooling, rest and opportunities to engage in activities that bring out their talents in creative areas. The home has diverse staff including volunteers to provide support to all these activities. Efficient management of schedules and systems is a complex task; procurement, cooking, cleaning, financial management, landscaping and above all, ensuring the childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s safety, are just some of the diverse activities that are undertaken to make sure every child is taken care of. Indradhanush Academyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s documentation of the systems, structures and processes to support this complex task could provide the basis for capacity building for home management. Building Capacity to Raise Community Awareness and Expand Community Partnership Besides social mobilization to identify children on the streets, there is a mobilization commponent that has to do with the community in which the homes are located. Experience has shown that the homes are often located within poor communities, with many slum children. The slum residents are often found to be hostile to the resident street children. It is important to open the doors of the homes also to these under-privileged children, for bridge and remedial education, food and recreation. This also expands the


integration of street children with neighbouring children who have families. The same services of bridge, enrichment and vocational education as well as one meal (mid-day or evening) should be provided for under-privileged children of the community during hours in which the regular school is not functioning. Partnerships will need to be forged for funding this component separately, but the State must first understand the need to elicit community support for the children and the home. Also community committees will need to be constituted, to plan and oversee these many activities, to support and monitor implementation, but above all to ensure caring by the local communities of the ‘last child’. Step 7: Finalise bridge programme design for various age groups, and include older students of the school if any for child to child teaching, but mainly train the teachers of the school and the implementing agency. One of the most important tasks will be to establish a structured program of Bridge Education, School Admission, Co-curricular Activities, Ongoing Homework Support, Counseling and Career Guidance. Given the wide range of backgrounds and lifeexperiences of children who have been on the streets, the group of children in any home is likely to be extremely diverse: in age, in levels of schooling and competencies, in physical and mental health, and in readiness for learning etc. And while their hopes and dreams for themselves are as diverse as any group of children anywhere, as a “type” these are children in a hurry, eager to make their lives, to get ahead. Once their trust has been gained, these children are easy to school, for they love to learn. The younger children can’t wait to get into a “normal” school, with their very own uniforms and school-bags; older children want to earn a living, and are frustrated by the requirement of literacy and numeracy. They all want to learn English and acquire Computer skills, make music and play sports. A strong life skills component must be designed as the first and most important developmental exercise, because most of these children have experienced violence and abuse on the streets, and may also have habits of substance abuse that need to be addressed urgently. Counseling and a regular program of disciplined exercise, especially martial arts, music and meditation appear to provide significant benefits. A structured and compelling program of study keeps the children busy and helps them settle into a routine. In order to get children ready for enrollment in the regular school, the program of bridge education has be truly learner-centered, accurately assessing the previous knowledge and competencies of each child and tracking progress on a regular basis. Curriculum and teacher training must therefore be of the highest quality. A structured program of co-curricular activities--English, Computers, Drama, Music and sports--is necessary to channel energies and provide structure and personal development. Field trips and excursions are an important part of their education.


Step 8: Launch Residential Special Training Course (RSTC)/Residential Bridge Course (RBC) for one year. As the program is initiated, State and City teams have to both provide support to implementation teams at home level as well as plan for the next and more comprehensive cycle ot the program (see Phase II below). Step 9:   Allow children who have no adult protection or have homeless parent(s) to live in residential school. As the residential program is established, it is important to ensure flexibility to accommodate all children on the streets if they have no adult protection or no shelter. Children of homeless families, whose parents are themselves struggling and are unable to provide adequate protection and shelter, must be provided a home and care in the RSTC. Step 10: After completion of bridge course, mainstream all children to appropriate day schools, including the one in which they are resident. As children attain age-appropriate learning levels, they must be moved into regular classes. Homework support and the co-curricular program must continue to be provided. The Headmistress/Headmaster must take personal interest in providing career counseling for older children who are anxious to join the working world and make a dignified living. Step 11:  For children who have no adult protection or have homeless parent(s), upgrade RSTC/RBC to Residential School for Urban Deprived Children under new SSA guidelines It is critical to understand that beyond the Bridge Program, if these children have no shelter and protection to return to, they must be provided residential care until they complete secondary education. No child becomes independent at the age of 14 years; since these children are from the streets, it is even more difficult for them. Hence it is important to think about these children beyond 14 years through Secondary education and with further provisioning through other national Schemes (schemes in Women and Child welfare, ICPS, Youth services, schemes for SC/ST and minorities etc) in order to maintain continuity of development towards independence.




Implementation Plan Phase II (Long-term Planning)

Step 1: Creating Convergence between Departments Eventually, three Departments must jointly take primary responsibility for children on the streets: the Department of Education itself, the Department of Woman and Child Development, and the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (or NCPCR where the State Commission is not constituted). The complex picture of inter-departmental collaboration to uphold the rights of street-children is represented in the figure below. Synergistic action and multi-pronged interventions are the only way to ensure a coherent and comprehensive model of care and education for these children. Figure 1: Government Departments Required to Partner in Providing Care and Education to Street- and Homeless Children


The State Secretary of Education and the SSA State Project Director, together with the Secretary of Women and Child Development and the Chairperson of the SCPCR must invite the Municipal Commissioner and, in cities other than State capitals, the District Collector, and the highest level of the respective Departments, identified in the figure above including the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, the Department for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and the other Departments, for joint discussions. Dialogue and convergence at the highest level will ensure that appropriate steps are initiated, and convergent structures and processes put in place for effective implementation of the policy. Establishment of State Resource Group for the Care and Education of Street-children Constitution of State Resource Group (SRG) To ensure an effective system for holistically addressing the needs of urban-deprived children in general, and street-children in particular, the State Task Force within SSA will need to be expanded to an inter-departmental State Resource Group. The State Resource Group must include designated representatives of all the agencies which will have a role in making the project successful: the Department of Education, which has primary responsibility to provide for the residential care and education of street-children; the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, which has the responsibility of monitoring the enforcement of the Right to Education, and which shares with the Department of Women and Child Development (through Child Welfare Committees and the Juvenile Justice Board) the primary responsibility of ensuring that the rights of every child in the State are safeguarded; the Capital Works Department or PWD, to ensure that allocated buildings are prepared to serve as residences; the Department of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, which is responsible for working with the homeless in urban centers, a root cause of the presence of children on the streets, the NGOs that have deep understanding of street-children and valuable experience in  providing care and education to them; SCERT and DIETs to customize curriculum and conduct relevant professional development programs, NUEPA, to develop customized modules for leadership and management of the project. The mandate of the SRG would be to provide the sustained support necessary to achieve policy goals, to evaluate the efficacy of the policy, identify policy gaps and refine the policy for the next round of planning and implementation. Since most attempts at systemic reform have foundered on the Government practice of frequent and unannounced transfers of key officials engaged in any reform, it is important to ensure that officials are appointed for a minimum tenure of five years with the mandate of delivering specific outcomes in this project.


Objectives of the State Resource Group ••

To develop a broad 5-year Strategic Plan;


To establish and build the capacity of City-level inter-departmental implementation teams for planning, implementation and monitoring;


To facilitate the development of City-level annual plans and budgets, and management systems feeding into the State and national MIS;


To identify nodal NGOs to partner with city-level teams to implement the project;


To identify, allocate and coordinate resources including buildings for residences and expert input as needed;


To develop strong programs for Bridge Education, Co-curricular education and After-school support with SCERT, DIETs and education experts;


To develop programs for mental and physical wellness with Department of Health


To facilitate development of support networks for City-level implementation teams;


To monitor the project, derive learnings to refine the Strategic Plan and to send to the national level as feedback for refining the policy;


To build networks of government agencies, civil society and individuals to support the provision of care and education for street- and homeless children through networking events and media advocacy.

The composite SRG will have to identify additionals cities/Districts for expanding the program, to identify officials at District, Block and City level, including CWC officials and those responsible for enforcement of the Juvenile Justice Act, as well as civil society partners, and to constitute multi-level, multi-stakeholder teams in all selected cities to design need-analysis and to plan implementation. The SRG will have to facilitate planning and support implementation until the capacity of city-teams is built to create teams for street-based work, identify public buildings and make them ready to receive children, to sensitize schools, train teachers, managers and caregivers; to forge partnerships with Adoption and Foster programs and with local NGOs, CBOs and youth groups, to identify and mobilize street-children, to create systems for program management and residence and school management including HR, Finance, Infrastructure, Community Participation, Education delivery and Healthcare delivery, and design social audits and an MIS for gathering and analyzing data to feed into the system for monitoring and adjustment of action-plan, strategy and eventually of the policy at national level. Promoting Linkages with Services for Adult Homeless With increasing globalization, the increasing number of homeless people in urban centres is adding considerably to the number of children who belong in the category of street26

children. The homeless are the most vulnerable group amongst the urban poor, denied dignity and the basic right to housing and shelter, water, sanitation, health, education, social security and livelihoods. In the Eighth Report of the Commissioners to the Supreme Court the plight of the urban homeless and their everyday struggle in the city for securing a decent livelihood and shelter clearly showed that the homeless people are invisible to the policy makers of our country. Based on the reports on homelessness and petitions filed by the Office of the Supreme Court Commissioners reporting the deaths of homeless people in the streets of Delhi on January 13, 2010, the Supreme Court ordered the State Government to put up 100 temporary shelters in the city. In the latest order of April 19 2011 the SC ordered that all cities and UTs under the JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) should put up 24-hour permanent shelters in areas of concentration of homeless population according to the prescribed numbers. By addressing the needs of the homeless in the major cities, a source problem of the number of children on the streets of these cities would be alleviated. A joint group of city officials and citizens could steer the implementation of the SC guidelines in the various cities across the State. Converging this planning with that for the provision of care and education to street-children would create great synergy, prevent duplication of structures, networks and services, and leverage scarce resources optimally. Step 2: Development of 5-Year Strategic Plan The Strategic Plan must be based on an implementation model that establishes a cycle of need assessment followed by planning, delivery (or implementation) and feedback to inform the design of each service in the next cycle. Thoughtful development of the Strategic Plan will in itself build the capacity of the State Resource Group: as they think together to identify the roles and requirements of the different Departments and the steps to ensure successful implementation and monitoring of the program, they will come together as a team, able to address problems as they arise, build the capacity of city-teams and provide guidance and support as needed. The members with experience in the provision of non-custodial care and education of street-children will provide expert input as needed on the various services to be provided. Analyzing the Need Effective planning of the intervention for the care and education of street-children requires disaggregated data on number, gender, age, duration of presence in city, primary occupation, health profile and special needs of the children, as well as current services available. Detailed Survey For expansion of the program to cover all street-children in any city, it will be important to conduct a detailed survey to map the children to be served: getting accurate numbers, 27

gathering information on what these children are doing, how they survive on the streets, and on their aspirations, their vulnerabilities and their needs. The State Resource Group must ensure a state-wide process: carefully designed surveys in all cities to gather this information will yield accurate and useful information and greatly facilitate the planning process. The services of an external research organization to design the survey, and support and monitor its implementation, will ensure accuracy of data gathered. Developing the Strategic Plan Based on the survey data, the State Resource Group will develop a broad implementation plan with the following components: i. ii. iii.

iv. v. vi.

Identification of Core Inter-departmental Teams in Selected Cities Identification of Civil Society partners Capacity-building of City Teams •• Identification of local partners •• Creating Demand •• Detailed survey of children •• Promoting Linkages with Services for the Homeless •• Defining a city-specific strategy •• Identifying Buildings •• Using Existing Schools as Residences •• Building Community Awareness and Partnerships •• Building Capacity of Home Management Teams •• Establishing a Structured Program of Bridge Education and School Admission •• Sensitizing Schools System for Sustained Support for Implementation Monitoring System: M&E framework Networking and Advocacy

Step 3: Establishing Implementation Support Groups As City teams begin to implement the program, prepare buildings, mobilize communities, identify and sensitize schools, develop management systems, hire and train staff and operationalize homes, there will be a need for intensive support to strengthen the service delivery of the homes. The State Resource Group must create a panel for providing sustained support for implementation--of experts in the provision of voluntary care and education to street children, and local community leaders/members--so that over time local capacity is built for ongoing implementation and monitoring of the new program. 28

The goal is to build networks of teachers, caregivers and home managers, heads of school, teacher unions, community leaders, volunteers and officials from the various departments who will come together for regular discussions, for ongoing learning and collaborative problem-solving. This will also be the mechanism for dialogue, feedback and review to feed into the project planning cycle. These networks would initially be facilitated by one of the external team but would, over time, become self-sufficient, able to identify need and generate solutions. This will eventually create a local network of implementing agencies (Government and non-governmental) that will work together to solve problems, access resources and learn from each other so that the program is sustainable. Step 4: Networking and Advocacy Networking Events One of most important methods for raising awareness of the program, attracting partners and volunteers and disseminating key information, would be through networking forums, round-tables and seminars. Sharing information in a face-to-face forum will stimulate discussions and enable partners to focus on critical issues. Workshops will be effective in sensitizing officials and community at large and initiating dialogue with action groups across the State and with other States and will help build new synergistic partnerships. The State Resource Group must include networking events as a part of their agenda to raise awareness of issues around the care and education of street- and homeless children. One large networking event must be held in each city initially to develop a shared understanding of street-children and to form partnerships for their care, and annually thereafter to provide a platform for networking and dissemination. Advocacy with Media •• •• •• ••


Media cooperation will increase the reach of the program. Advocacy with media will seek to achieve the following outcomes: Use media as essential partners in sensitizing the public; Seek their support to disseminate learning; Provide media professionals information on critical issues and concerns so as to inspire investigative reporting, and draw links to existing experience that may enrich the information resources; Facilitate a collaborative network between the local community leaders and media to evolve best possible ways of utilizing and harnessing this network to benefit the cause of the street child.


ANNEXURE 1 Vulnerability Scale 1. Girl in the Detention Centre 2. Boy in the Detention Centre 3. Girl living alone on the streets 4. Boy living alone on the streets 5. Girl living with single mother on the streets and •• Facing abuse and / or •• Drug Addict parent and / or •• Alcoholic parent and / or •• Doing Street work 6. Boy living with single mother on the streets and •• Facing abuse and / or •• Drug Addict parent and / or •• Alcoholic parent and / or •• Doing Street work 7. Girl living with single father on the streets and •• Facing abuse and / or •• Drug Addict parent and / or •• Alcoholic parent and / or •• Doing Street work 8. Boy living with single father on the streets and •• Facing abuse and / or •• Drug Addict parent and / or •• Alcoholic parent and / or •• Doing Street work 9. Girl living with both parents on the streets and •• Facing abuse and / or •• Drug Addict parent and / or •• Alcoholic parent and / or •• Doing Street work 10. Boy living with both parents on the streets and •• Facing abuse and / or •• Drug Addict parent and / or 30

•• Alcoholic parent and / or •• Doing Street work 11. Girl living with single mother in slums and •• Facing abuse and / or •• Drug Addict parent and / or •• Alcoholic parent and / or •• Doing Street work 12. Boy living with single mother in slums and •• Facing abuse and / or •• Drug Addict parent and / or •• Alcoholic parent and / or •• Doing Street work 13. Girl living with single father in slums and •• Facing abuse and / or •• Drug Addict parent and / or •• Alcoholic parent and / or •• Doing Street work 14. Boy living with single father in slums and •• Facing abuse and / or •• Drug Addict parent and / or •• Alcoholic parent and / or •• Doing Street work 15. Girl living with both parents in slums and •• Facing abuse and / or •• Drug Addict parent and / or •• Alcoholic parent and / or •• Doing Street work 16. Boy living with both parents in slums and •• Facing abuse and / or •• Drug Addict parent and / or •• Alcoholic parent and / or •• Doing Street work


Abbreviation CBO Community Based Organization CWC Child Welfare Committee DIET District Institute of Education Training HR Human Resource ICPS Integrated Child Protection Scheme JNNURM Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission JJA Juvenile Justice Act KGBV Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalay MIS Management Information System NGO Non Government Organization NCPCR National Commission for Protection of Child Rights NUEPA National University of Education Planning and Administration NSS National Sample Survey PWD Public Works Department RBC Residential Bridge Course RSTC Residential Special Training Centre RTE Right to Education SC/ST Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe SSA Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan SCERT State Council of Educational Research and Training SCPCR State Commission for Protection of Child Rights SRG State Resource Group UT Union Territories


Open Gates, Open Hearts Comprehensive Care for Street Children: Handbook for Planners and Practitioners

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Understanding the Street Child, Approaches to Care and Building Partnerships

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