Missing Child Search and Child Protection Homelink Network, Kerala, is a project supported by the Social Welfare Department

Every child should be protected against exploitation and abuse, and provided a safe and secure environment, B. Sudheendra Kumar, Principal District and Sessions Judge, has said.

He was inaugurating a workshop on ‘Child protection, Missing Child Search and Homelink Network towards establishing a child-friendly society’ organised by the Don Bosco Veedu Society here on Friday.

Missing Child Search and Child Protection Homelink Network, Kerala, is a project supported by the Social Welfare Department to track and rehabilitate children who wander away from homes and find themselves in vulnerable situations on the streets. The project was launched in the State by the Don Bosco Veedu Society in 2000 as part of ‘Young at Risk,’ a national project run by the Don Bosco Societies in India. The State government took over the project in 2008.

The project has developed a software that uses a database of children who are found wandering the streets unaccompanied and later find their way to some shelter home. The software enables a person whose child may have gone missing to register a formal complaint on the site. It then matches the child’s details in the complaint with the database to check if the profiles match.

In Kerala, a database of 1,400 children found wandering the streets has been created so far, while the formal complaints of missing children number just 300, Fr. Philip Parakkat, who has been involved with the project since its inception, said.

This year, the effort will be to install the software in every shelter home and government protection home where children are brought for care and protection, complete the documentation of the details of children, and train the staff to use the software, Fr. Parakkat said. The workshop shared the details of the network (www.missingchildsearch.net) where anyone can register a complaint about a missing child. The network is active in 15 States and two Union Territories, and has 290 non-governmental partners.

The workshop also discussed the formulation of the Kerala Children’s Act, which aims to ensure education to all children till the age of 18.