Krishna Tirath, Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development, has sought the personal intervention of Home Minister P. Chidambaram in ensuring that the Union Territories start implementing the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).

Under the ambitious scheme, State governments and Union Territories should enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Centre, affirming their commitment to implement the scheme.

Thereafter, they are required to prepare the implementation schedule and submit it, along with the financial proposal, to the Ministry for release of funds.

However, only Chandigarh and Puducherry have conveyed their willingness to implement the scheme. The rest of the Union Territories — Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, and Lakshadweep — are yet to convey their readiness in this respect.

In the letter to Mr. Chidambaram, Ms. Tirath has asked for his personal intervention in getting these Union Territories on board for going ahead with the implementation of the scheme expeditiously.

Ms. Tirath has also written to the Chief Ministers of those States which are yet to sign the MoU, asking them to receive Central grants for working towards a safe environment for children.

The Centrally sponsored ICPS was initiated in 2009-10 for improving the well-being of children as well as reducing their vulnerabilities to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation from their families.

The scheme aims at creating a social safety net for children in need of care and protection, children in conflict displaced children and children of prisoners.

The main components of the scheme are a programme for juvenile justice, an integrated programme for street children and a scheme for assistance to children's homes. The in-country adoptions have been merged into the ICPS.

The institutional services financed under the ICPS include shelter homes, children's homes and observation homes, open shelters for children in need in urban and semi-urban areas, and family-based non-institutional care through sponsorships, including adoption.

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