Chandigarh. 2nd March,2020:The office of Union Territory Child Protection Society, Chandigarh, under the aegis of Department of Social Welfare, Chandigarh in collaboration with Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights organised a ‘Sensitization Program on Foster Care Scheme’ at U.T Guest House, Sector 6, Chandigarh. The purpose of the program was to generate awareness among representatives of civil society about Family Based Care in the life of children in the need of care and protection through Foster Care Scheme of Govt. of India and to enlighten primary stakeholders on the modalities of Foster Care Scheme.
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. The primary objective of Foster Care is to place a child with a willing family who shares a cultural or a community connection same to that of the child including friends of the parents, neighbours and members of the same community.
Mrs. Navjot Kaur, Member Secretary, UTCPS-cum- Director Social Welfare, welcomed the chief guest Sh. Yashpal Garg (IAS), Chairperson UTCPS –cum- Secretary Social Welfare, U.T. Chandigarh and all the participants. Sh. Yashpal Garg, addressed the participants and stressed to adopt innovative ways to promote Foster Care in Chandigarh by spreading awareness among masses through Councilors and leaders of Religious Institutions.
The key note address of the program was given by Mrs. Harjinder Kaur, Chairperson, Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights who urged the participants to open their heart to children who are in need of care and protection and let them be a part of their families. She also said that, Chandigarh – ‘The City Beautiful’ should also be now Chandigarh- ‘Child Friendly City’.
Thereafter, the technical session on Foster Care Scheme was taken by Mr. Ian Anand Forber Pratt, Director of Global Advocacy, Children Emergency Relief International (CERI). Mr. Ian Anand Forber Pratt, works in the field of Child Protection and Child Care System reform in the United States, India, Sri Lanka, and globally. He is an International Adoptee and specializes in therapy with adoptive families both international and domestic in identity, root search and cultural competence.
The technical session was informative and conscious efforts were made by Mr. Ian Anand to help the participants overcome their inhibitions w.r.t to the Scheme. He elaborated on the roles of various stakeholders and explained the process with success stories of various States. He also explained about the eligibility criteria of being a Foster Parent and gave information pertaining to the guidelines of Foster Care Scheme of Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The program was conducted in two batches; first batch had members from Civil Society such as Doctors from GMSH-16, GMCH-32 & PGIMER Chandigarh, Senior Citizen Association, Rotary Club, Resident Welfare Association, Principals/ Vice Principals/ Senior Lecturers and Panel of Lawyers from State Legal Services Authority & District Legal Service Authority. The emphasis was to sensitize them so that a pool of Prospective Foster Care Parents can be created in U.T. Chandigarh and instead of sending children to Child Care Institutions they could be sent into loving families with similar environment by the Child Welfare Committee, Chandigarh.
The second batch included the primary stakeholders working for the implementation of Child Protection Mechanism in U.T Chandigarh. There were around 50 participants such as Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, Chandigarh; Helpline Manager and team of Women and Child Helpline Chandigarh; staff of District Child Protection Unit Chandigarh; Officials from State Adoption Agency, Aashiana; Children Home Snehalaya for Girls, Sector 15, Children Home Snehalaya for Boys, Maloya, staff of children home Aashreya, Child line Karuna Sadan, Chandigarh, Counselors from Social Welfare Board Chandigarh, Members of Juvenile Justice Board, Staff of Observation Cum Special Home and staff from Mahila Shakti Kendra, U.T. Chandigarh.
The session was to address the issues faced by the stakeholders who are implementing the scheme in U.T. Chandigarh and as to how they can ensure its effective implementation in future.
After the technical sessions, an open house discussion was held wherein Mr. Ian Anand took up queries of the participants and equipped each participant with the relevant information pertaining to the Foster Care Scheme.