APSA’s frequent interactions with the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) and the advocacy work undertaken with various government departments have led to the development of a strong, collaborative relationship.
APSA along with other civil society organizations strongly advocated with the DWCD on NGO participation in running Government Homes for Girls and Boys along the lines of the Andhra Pradesh model, which had adopted a similar approach successfully. The advocacy resulted in formation of ‘Home Committees’ and APSA with its experience in running an open shelter (Nammane) was nominated as a member of the Government Children’s Home for Boys and Girls (earlier known as Juvenile Homes).
Experiences of working with children in the Homes led APSA to conceive the Juvenile Justice Project in 2000. The project aims to utilize APSA’s experiences in working with Government Homes to evolve best practices and develop these Homes into child-friendly, replicable models. Under the project, APSA has also undertaken capacity building for various personnel under the Juvenile Justice system, advocates for effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act 2000 and works closely with the DWCD in effecting systemic changes in the functioning of institutions under the Juvenile Justice system.
Beginning November 2002, a series of capacity building training programs, designed and conducted by APSA, were held for all the staff in Children’s Homes and Observation Homes in Karnataka. The training addressed the need for system reforms, child participation and restoration concepts within Juvenile homes along with an orientation to the new Juvenile Justice Act. Staff capacities were also built on counselling skills lifeskills education, sexual health, care plans for children, and active participation in the national strategy for quality institutional care. An important component of the training was APSA’s own experiences of best practices, challenges and successes in running the Nammane open shelter and the concept of child participation as practiced in the organization. Representatives from various other NGOs involved in the Home Committees also participated in these trainings.
APSA was instrumental in pushing for setting up Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) in Bangalore city since 2009. The very first Committee set up had APSA’s Director, Ms. Sheila Devaraj as a member from 2004 to 2007. Training programs were organized for members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), constituted for the first time under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act 2000. The Juvenile Justice Forum (an informal forum of which APSA is member) is involved in following up on various issues through advocacy efforts.
Two of APSA’s long-standing senior staff, Ms. Vishala, Coordinator of the Lifeskills project and Mr. Subramani, Coordinator of the APSA Childline project, are both members on the Committee for Girls and Committee for Boys respectively.
The two CWC members together handle more than 2000 cases annually, both new ones and repeat cases. Cases include child beggars, children rescued from trafficking for labour or sex, child victims of violence and physical/ sexual abuse, abandoned, missing or kidnapped children, teenage runaways, babies put up for adoption, children in conflict with the law and cases of children needing care and protection. The CWC assists in placing children in shelter homes, enabling access to education and skill training, and providing rehabilitation and repatriation support.
Both the members are also involved in providing training for various government departments and other civil society organizations on child rights and child protection structures:
|Government Departments||Department of Labour, Department of Women & Child Development (DWCD), Department of Social Welfare, Department of Education, Police Department, Government Girls’ Home, District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) from other states, Karnataka State Committee for the Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) and Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) at Hyderabad (for anganwadi workers)||
|CSOs/CBOs||Bridge Network, ENFOLD, Spastics Society of Karnataka, Milana (HIV & AIDS support group), Bangalore HIV & AIDS Forum, Vishveshwaraiah College of Engineering, Self Help Groups (SHGs) from APSA and other CSOs and Nele|