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Family is where Sneha belongs

Sneha*, a 12-year-old little girl, stepped into the local childcare institution’s (CCI) office with her mother Lata, afraid and almost in tears holding her mother’s saree. Her mother with folded hands requested the Chief Functionary (CF) and the in-charge to get Sneha admitted to the CCI.

Lata is a single mother who works as a household help at many houses in the town. Her day starts at 6 AM and only returns home by noon before again leaving at 1 PM. Being the only earning member in the family, Lata cannot quit her work to be with her at home. Sneha’s education expenses and lack of security while alone give Lata sleepless nights. After deliberating on this thought a lot, Lata decided to leave Sneha at the nearby CCI where at least she won’t be alone and her needs for education will be taken care of. But is separating her child from herself the solution to Lata’s problem?

By protocol, the CCI has to discuss the case with the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) for their recommendation before the family meets the CWC. In Sneha’s case, the in-charge and the CF of the CCI were trained and oriented by Miracle Foundation India on family-based & alternative care. They decided to visit Sneha’s house before taking a call on this case - the child’s development was central to their decision.

After much discussion and delving into Lata’s concern further - the team visited her aunt’s house nearby to ask if Sneha could be dropped and taken care of by them while Lata was away. The point was driven that in case no arrangements were made, Sneha faced the risk of separating from her mother for a good part of her childhood. The aunt’s family understood the single mother’s plight and agreed to support Lata to look after Sneha during the daytime. The CCI staff will conduct regular follow up to ensure the safety and security of the child.

Capacity building and strengthening of the child protection system are key to preventing children from entering the orphan crisis. While Sneha gets to live with her mother and her extended family, it was the in-charge who followed protocol and knew that this was the solution keeping the best interest of the child in mind. Miracle Foundation works on systemic change to ensure every vulnerable child and their family is given the opportunity to stay together.

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*Name and picture of the child is changed to protect the privacy

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