Kerala

Children in distress in five more districts to benefit from Kerala’s Kaval Plus project

Since its rollout in Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad districts in December 2020, the project has been able to reach out to nearly 300 and 150 children respectively. Now, the project is set to be implemented in Ernakulam, Idukki, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kannur.   | Photo Credit: GettyImages/iStock photo

Buoyed by the success of the pilot project in two districts, the Department of Women and Child Development in Kerala is set to expand Kaval Plus, an ambitious programme for lending holistic support to children in need of care and protection and survivors of sexual abuse, to five more districts.

Since its rollout in Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad districts in December 2020, the project has been able to reach out to nearly 300 and 150 children respectively. Now, the project is set to be implemented in Ernakulam, Idukki, Malappuram, Kozhikode, and Kannur.

"The impact of the pilot project has been very good. While it covers both children at homes and child care institutes, we are also focussing on vulnerable children in the community outside the ambit of child welfare committees (CWCs) and other agencies," said T. V. Anupama, director, women and child development department.

The 15 children’s homes in Kerala account for nearly 500 inmates, leaving nearly 96% of high-risk children in need of support unprotected in the community.

Early identification system

"We are about to introduce an early identification system using community-level workers, including Asha and Anganwadi workers," said Kavitha Manoj, State Project Coordinator of Kaval Plus.

The project is being implemented with the help of NGOs experienced in working with the children. Two NGOs each are selected in each district by a committee comprising the district child protection officer, CWC representative and protection officer (non-institutional care). The chosen NGOs, however, will not work in silos but closely in association with the child protection agencies.

The beneficiaries of the project are usually identified from among the children produced before CWCs who in turn will hand them to the district child protection units for social investigation as per the Juvenile Justice Act. Based on those reports, cases found fit will be handed over to Kaval Plus.

"NGOs will then have to make an evaluation and draw up individual care plan for each child. We then offer children a holistic psycho-socio, economic and educational support besides family strengthening sessions and group work. Children with mental health issues will be referred to district mental health authorities," said Ms. Manoj.


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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 12:25:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/children-in-distress-in-five-more-districts-to-benefit-from-keralas-kaval-plus-project/article34944803.ece

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