The child protection system must be a human system

Trafficking, hazardous work, child marriage, violence and abuse are the serious harms that children in the communities where Aangan works have either experienced or are at risk of experiencing. Personal experience of harm, high levels of domestic violence, alcoholism, poverty, food shortage, lack of adult care and neglect characterize the everyday experience of children.

Children who experience trauma while living in the community, and those who return to it post-rescue, from situations of harm as a result of trafficking, unsafe migration, hazardous work, running away or going missing, are in need of interventions that are trauma informed. In the absence of mental health professionals, the recovery and restoration of these child victims is a substantial challenge.

To combat this, we train cohorts of women in each Hotspot to receive and work with child survivors of harm and their families. The women are educated in active listening skills, building empathy, and connecting children and families to existing services and schemes that can help mitigate risks. The aim here is to prevent the recurrence of any further harm, and successfully reintegrate the child into daily life within the community, allowing her to heal, to restore her dignity and sense of self and to give her the opportunity to have and realize dreams. To this end, the trainees also build linkages with key government agencies, the police, the Child Welfare Committees, and District Child Protection Units in order to facilitate the execution of care plans, and monitor and report back on children’s progress.