With the aim of giving impetus to child protection in the State, the Government in collaboration with the Centre has set up the Tamil Nadu State Child Protection Society in Chennai. This society will implement the ‘Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS)’ of the Central Government to ensure that all children could lead protected lives without being abused or turning into juvenile offenders.

The State-level body was set up in Chennai in April 2012. But to take this focus to all parts of the State, the Government had announced that similar societies would be set up in all 32 districts of the State.

One of the first districts to get the District Child Protection Society is Coimbatore. It has started functioning temporarily from a building in the Don Bosco Anbu Illam premises from August 17, according to the Probation Officer R. Senthilkumar, who holds additional charge as the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO).

“The ICPS will be implemented by the society with 75 per cent funding from the Central Government and 25 per cent from the State. The scheme will ensure that there is no violation in places where children have to be provided care. This includes those in institutional and non-institutional care,” he said.

The society would have 10 members with the District Collector as the chairperson. It would include the DCPO, protection officers, social workers, outreach workers, a counsellor and some office staff.

The scheme would include in its purview the Juvenile Justice Board, the Child Welfare Committees and all those institutions and Departments that deal with children. It would include monitoring adoption by agencies / non-Governmental organisations, Government-run and private orphanages, observation homes, etc.

For the sake of overall functioning, some common guidelines have been laid down. But the society could assess the local needs and come up with recommendations to address those needs. All activities would be directed towards preventing children from ending up as juvenile delinquents.

The district-level societies would deal with child protection in a centralised manner by incorporating in them all child related activities that were so long under the aegis of Departments like Women and Child Development, Social Welfare, Social Defence, etc., and organisations like ChildLine.

“It is being ensured that institutional care services like Juvenile Justice Boards, Child Welfare Committees, Government orphanages, District Child Protection Societies, ChildLine, and the like, will be set up in all 32 districts,” Mr. Senthilkumar said.

While these measures were being launched to include all types of children, the highlight was on three categories, namely, children in need of care and protection, children in conflict with law, and children in contact with law.

The members of the DCPS were being trained to address issues related to all the above categories. Since child protection was an exhaustive subject, the society members would also be sent for yearly refresher courses to be up-to-date with the new schemes and programmes of the Government.

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