The state of Gujarat saw an unprecedented increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in March’20 and as a result, children with parents/relatives were sent to their respective homes. Gujarat State Child Protection Society (GSCPS) wanted to integrate these children to their families and as a result, they released a circular stating that District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) teams are required to complete a Home Study Report (HSR) of every child integrated into the family.
To address the needs of GSCPS department, the Miracle team in Gandhinagar started an advocacy campaign for the Expedited Case Management (ECM) tool in association with GSCPS. Miracle Gandhinagar collaborated with UNICEF for the campaign on the ECM tool and as a result, the Gujarat State Government adopted ECM approach. The State Government gave their heads up to initiate this campaign of training childcare institutions (CCIs) and DCPU officials from the nine selected districts (amounting to be 2000 children) in Expedited Case Management.
The objective of the training was to strengthen the capacity and enhance the understanding of the CCI staff, PONIC, Social Workers, Outreach Workers and District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) on child assessment, family assessment, family strengthening and their safe placement. ECM aims to enable the stakeholders in determining the feasibility of integration for those children who were sent back to their families without prior preparation as a result of the sudden lockdown. With the objectives set, a two-day ECM training was organized and participation from 9 districts (Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Surat, Jamnagar, Kutch and Amreli) was received.
Post the training, the Gujarat State Child Protection Society and Miracle Gandhinagar teams put together a plan for systematic follow-up, collection, management and analysis of data through monitoring & follow-up sheet, and the high-level metrics sheet. Once the plan was chalked out, both the teams connected with the DCPOs of the nine districts and resolved their queries pertaining to the ECM tool. Further, the ECM was included in the virtual classroom training of the DCPO officials of the next two batches. During the follow-ups, DCPU officials requested Miracle support to build the capacity of the CCI staff on ECM. As a result, we trained 84 CCI staff from 16 CCIs across five districts.
Impact of the ECM tool
ECM is helping the DCPU officials in monitoring and tracking the children send back to their homes
DCPU officials have started giving priority to the ECM and they have now been getting regular updates on ECM from the CCIs.
With the help of ECM tool, DCPU officials from 27 districts have reunified 1077 children.
DCPU officials during the follow ups have shared that ECM tool is helping them planning interventions for families and children.