Family Based Care

SCENARIO:

Millions of children in our country are deprived of love & care of a family. It is undisputed to say that children can be nowhere nurtured better than his/her own family. Researches have established that residential care causes long-term negative effects on children’s physical, intellectual, and psychosocial development. Children who have lived in residential care may be among the most susceptible to violence, abuse and exploitation, and when they leave care they are often ill prepared for leading an independent life, which frequently results in unemployment, exploitation, and homelessness, causing long-term costs to the society.

SOLUTION:

Families are at the heart of our solution. A safe and caring family is what gives a child the most stable start and equips the child to live a fulfilling life. We work to support families who are at risk of separation by providing with household economic strengthening and good parenting skills. We explore putting children in various family based care options, which include Foster Care, Kinship Care, Aftercare, etc. as per the best interest of children. We also work directly with the residential care facility staff to train them in tracing the children’s parents and reintegration, “gatekeeping” (a strategy to support parents and keep children from entering care in the first place) and providing other forms of family and community services.

Foster care is a system of non-institutional family-based care under which a child lives with a family other than his/her biological family.As per policy, foster care has two variants namely individual foster care and group foster care.

Individual foster care refers to the care of a child under a foster family. Group foster care This system provides personalized parental care in a family-like environment to a group (up to 8 nos.) of unrelated children in a community setting.

There is a scope under Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and Integrate Child Protection Services (ICPS) to promote the foster care concept as one of the alternative forms of childcare in the country. It is seen that parents though interested for fostering, but due to poor knowledge on the concept stay reluctant in taking care of children. There are many such children who do not get a scope to live in a family can be benefited by this concept. Therefore, it needs to be promoted at a larger scale with the proper sensitization and support of all child protection mechanism.

YCDA has been working restlessly together with Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) and District Child Protection Unit (DCPUs) and bringing the appropriate State policies to further formalize the system.

The Key steps/process followed:

  • Foster Home Screening - Shortlisting of foster carers/parents as per JJ Act by the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) & forward to CWC for declaration as fit for Fostering.
  • Production before CWC and Approval- Producing Children & Foster Parents before CWC, initiate the matching process and ensure placement order.
  • Foster Parent Training- Foster parents are provided with periodic training & support on child protection & good parenting skill
  • Ensure access to basic services- Foster children are ensured/linked with essential services such as Education, Health & Recreation
  • Foster Home Monitoring-Regular visit to the Foster Family by CWC /DCPU or any external agencies at various levels.
  • Family strengthening: Family Strengthening through Income Generation Activities & linkages with government schemes.
  • Permanency planning: Accessing & preparing a child for long term care in a stable family environment.

Kinship care is an informal family-based care option where children are placed in an extended family or among close friends of the family known to the child, during situations where the children has to live without biological families. This is the most significant form of out-of-home care globally for children who are unable to live with their parents for any reason. Various studies shows, that not all children are placed in kinship care are arrangements appropriate care and support. Children are often exploited, tortured and discriminated.

Since this care option is not statutorily considered as a form family-based care option, no monitoring and support by statutory bodies and service delivery structures are being done.

Looking into the socio-economic situation and wide acceptance of this care option among many communities, this can be one of the suitable family-based care options in the Indian context. Caregivers and the children need to be linked with various Government facilities and schemes and provide with required support to take care of children appropriately.

This arrangement is also known as "Child headed households". In this form of care arrangement, there are no adult caregivers and the children of the family live on their own. In such arrangements, generally, the older sibling bears the responsibility of taking care of the younger ones. Such a situation arises where either both the parents of the children are dead or have abandoned them and there is no close relative who takes care of them.

Despite their community linkages in most cases, the children may stay entirely on their own and sometimes in extremely vulnerable conditions. Therefore, in the independent living setup, the children will require support to ensure access to basic health care, nutrition, shelter and education. They should be given legal protection in order to receive information on inheritance and property rights. Therefore, they need to be empowered to gain control over their future via various means such as education and skill training.

Individual care plan' is a comprehensive development plan for a child based on his age and gender specific needs. The individual care plan helps in setting up objectives and agreeing in the way to promote each child’s individual development, learning and well-being in a systematic manner. Subsequently the child’s well-being, learning and growth are supported based on the individual needs, strengths and abilities. It also serves as a tool for planning the child’s over all development and learning aspects. The individual care plan is drawn up for every child at Family based care & child Care Institutions together with the child and child’s guardian. The case history of the child is prepared in consultation with the child, in order to restore the child’s self-esteem, dignity and self-worth.

The emphasis of the plan is on needs of the child i.e. a) Health needs, including any special needs;   b) Emotional and psychosocial needs;  c) Educational and training needs; d) Leisure, creativity and play; e) Protection from all kinds of abuse, neglect and maltreatment f) restoration and follow up  g) Social mainstreaming.

So far the individual care plan is concerned the essential thing is to map the potential, skill and future expectation with quality of life rather than simple levels the ability, health, employment or housing status. At the CCI level, this can be about children’s feeling of safty, being healthier, and stronger. At individual level, outcomes can be framed in terms of the steps a child needs to take in order to improve aspects of their lives relating to their own safety and security, for instance. Scoring systems have been developed in some cases to help measure progress. It is important to distinguish the outcomes of a service from quality measures.

This can be done by inviting individuals to reflect on what their life would be like without support or care. This is one aspect of the Better Futures framework.

The Individual care plan is intended to set out what sort of support a child needs to participate in school life just like other children. It's a written document that specifies what sort of help the school can provide for the child, what other institution can support for the overall development of the child for example, what medicines they can manage, and what to do during a medical emergency. However, the child who is need of care and protection can have the extra support in a systematic manner meeting its individual needs.

Process/Strategy for  ICP:

  1. Child Wellbeing & Need Assessment
  2. Updating /Preparation of Individual care plan
  3. Preparing Annual Need based Plan for support
  4. Monitoring & Review of the progress

As per the best interest of the child, social workers & project staff assess the vulnerability, counsel the child and caregivers interact with Village Child Protection Committee and prepare a realistic care plan which further gets quarterly revised. Then after involving Village child protection committee members we develop a plan in consultation with District child Protection Unit and then rehabilitate the child. The CWC is authorized to finalize & recommend the best alternatives for the child to stay at.