Integrated Child Protection Scheme: Protecting and educating those who have none to look after them

The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) has played a key role in strengthening the child protection regime in Bengal. This has done by setting up necessary institutional delivery mechanisms and statutory bodies, increasing investment in child protection, and continuously drawing focus on the right of all children to be safe.

The Directorate of Child Rights and Trafficking (DCRT) is responsible for the implementation of ICPS through the State Child Protection Society (SCPS) and the District Child Protection Units (DCPU), the latter running in 20 districts. Only the newly-formed districts of Paschim Bardhaman, Jhargram and Kalimpong are left, where DCPUs are in the process of being set up. All statutory structures like Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards have also been formed in the 20 districts.

Under the aegis of institutional care, DCRT looks after 4,687 children across the State, housed in 19 Government-run Homes, 39 non-governmental organisations (NGO)-run Homes, 23 Open Shelters and 22 Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAA).

There are four additional Places of Safety, namely, Sumangalam (in Bankura), Ananda Ashram, Shilayan (both in Murshidabad) and Ananda Math (in Purulia).

To provide better institutional care, 71 contractual staff were given employment during financial year (FY) 2017-18 in six Government-run homes – Korok Observation and Juvenile Home for Neglected Boys (in Jalpaiguri), Sundarbai Mulchand Mohota (SMM) Home (for girls) (in Liluah), Government School for the Blind, Sahid Bandana Smriti Mahila Abas (for girls) (both in Cooch Behar), Nadia District Shelter (for girls) (in Krishnanagar) and Malda District Shelter (for girls) (in Malda town).

Source: Departmental Budget

Initiatives for prevention of trafficking and reintegration of trafficked children

As child protection is the core mandate of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), a number of child protection committees (CPC) – community-based child protection mechanisms – have been formed at the village level (VLCPC), ward level (WLCPC) and block level (BLCPC).

As on December 31, 2017, VLCPCs have been formed in 41,899 villages out of the total of 46,505 villages in the State, WLCPCs in 1,702 out of the 2,900 wards and BLCPCs in 340 out of the 341 blocks. Hence, the Government has covered almost the entire State and the rest would be covered soon.

The first phase of training of the master trainers at the district level on standardised child protection committee (CPC) modules has been completed in all the districts. These master trainers would then train officers at the block level.

The Directorate of Child Rights and Trafficking (DCRT) has undertaken several important initiatives to ensure inter-State and inter-departmental cooperation and coordination in combating trafficking of children.

One such initiative was the formulation of State Plan of Action to Combat and Prevent Human Trafficking (SPAHT) in December 2016. Currently it is being rolled out in the districts of South 24 Parganas and Jalpaiguri, where the incidence of trafficking is considerably high.

Various community awareness programmes have been undertaken at the grassroots level to spread awareness on the issue of trafficking including sensitisation of ICDS workers, school students, teachers, para-legal volunteers, police, etc. Local folk artistes are also trained to spread awareness on human trafficking.

Child-friendly police stations have been set up in Sonarpur and Kulti in South 24 Parganas. Adolescent groups and Kanyashree Clubs have been formed which are working as watchdogs in the communities to prevent human trafficking.

The DCRT gives special emphasis on trafficked victims and matters related to their restoration and repatriation. It also organises continual capacity building of State and district stakeholders on child rights, missing children and trafficked persons.

All these work are overseen by the Women and Child Development and Social Welfare Department.


Bengal CM announces formation of committee to check child trafficking

Stating the incident of newborn trafficking as “unfortunate”, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced in the Assembly on Monday that a committee, comprising of both bureaucrats and politicians, will be formed to check child trafficking.

Besides, parliamentary minister Partha Chatterjee will be the chairman and Chief Secretary convener of the committee. Leader of the Opposition Abdul Mannan and CPI(M) MLA Sujan Chakraborty will also be in the committee.

Mamata Banerjee said, “The committee will function in a better way if the members are both from political field and bureaucracy.”

The members of the committee will be discussing the issues related to child trafficking and would take necessary steps to put an end to the trafficking of children. The members of the committee will be meeting once a month and prepare report on the development in the situation.

The Chief Minister said that the incidents of child trafficking was unfortunate and expressed her concern. She said, “It is a social problem and trafficking of children first came to light in 1982. Charge sheet of the case was filed in 1999. It became a cause of concern when the matter resurfaced in 2010. Again, on November 21, CID arrested some people and busted a racket. A total 20 were arrested. Bodies of two children were exhumed and CID officers recovered 10 children from a home at Thakurpukur and three from Sohan Nursing Home. One of the three children was handed over to her parents after necessary verification. We have to be aware and cautious as some nursing homes and NGOs are involved. The licenses of all the three nursing homes were suspended and those will be cancelled as well.”


শিশুপাচার কাণ্ডে তদন্ত কমিটি মুখ্যমন্ত্রীর, ডাক বিরোধীদেরও

রাজ্যে শিশুপাচার কাণ্ডে এবার সক্রিয় হলেন মুখ্যমন্ত্রী মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়৷ একাধিক শিশুপাচারের ঘটনা যখন সামনে আসছে, তখন পুরো বিষয়টির তদন্তের জন্য বিশেষ কমিটি গঠন করলেন তিনি৷

পুরো বিষয়ের তদন্তের জন্য এবার বিশেষ কমিটি গঠন করলেন মুখ্যমন্ত্রী৷ মুখ্যসচিবের নেতৃত্বে তৈরি এই কমিটিতে থাকবেন স্বরাষ্ট্রসচিব, স্বাস্থ্যসচিব৷ থাকবেন শিশু ও নারী কল্যাণ দফতরের সচিবও৷

যেহেতু এই কাণ্ড গোটা রাজ্যের উদ্বেগের বিষয়, তাই এই কমিটিতে রাজনৈতিক ভেদাভেদের ছোঁয়া রাখেননি মুখ্যমন্ত্রী৷ বাম ও কংগ্রেসের তরফে সুজন চক্রবর্তীক ও  আব্দুল মান্নানকেও কমিটিতে রাখার প্রস্তাব দেন তিনি৷ মুখ্যমন্ত্রীর এই আবেদনে সাড়াও দিয়েছে বিরোধী শিবির৷