A national conference on ‘’Convergence, Collaboration & Comprehensive Rehabilitation: An approach to Deinstitutionalization’’ was jointly organized on 15th & 16th March 2021 by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai, Department of Juvenile Welfare and Correctional Services, Department of Women Development & Child Welfare, Government of Telangana, Tata Advanced systems Limited, Hyderabad. The Conference focuses on the need for collaborating with multi-disciplinary professionals in the process of rehabilitation of the institutionalised children in order to facilitate better reintegration.
The conference was conducted in a blended mode of virtual as well as in person participation of stakeholders from the government, civil society and academia. The conference was inaugurated by the Commissioner, Dept of Women Development & Child Welfare, Govt of Telangana, and witnessed representation from UNICEF, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR), Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) officials, CWC, JJB officials, State Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Women Safety Wing Technology Initiatives, Govt of Telangana, Child Protection Management Information System (CPMIS), Dept of Social Welfare, Govt of Bihar, Rainbow Foundation, Enfold, Bengaluru, Catalyst for Social Action (CSA), Where are India’s Children (WAIC), TISS fraternity.
Within the purview of the conference focus ‘’Convergence, Collaboration & Comprehensive Rehabilitation: An approach to Deinstitutionalization’’, the themes across two days included –
Theme 1 - Convergence of Psychology and Social Care Support with Juvenile Justice System
Theme 2 – Rehabilitation of Children with Disabilities
Theme 3 - Civil Society Collaboration
Theme 4 - Socio Legal approach to Comprehensive Rehabilitation
Theme 5 - Alternative Care
Theme 6 - Technology & Comprehensive Rehabilitation
Miracle Foundation India was invited as the key note speaker to set the context and perspective for theme 5 on alternative care on second day of the conference. The conference organiers shared their perspective of how they believed that Miracle Foundation India has engaged extensively with vulnerable children in providing alternative care with a focus on family and community-based rehabilitation. Given its strong engagement in the field of child protection, family based alternative care, the expectation from Miracle was to carve a session around this outline:
- Understanding of 'Alternative Care' with respect to the needs of vulnerabilities of children
- Different avenues of alternative care with a focus on those that have been modelled by Miracle Foundation India
- Challenges of deinstitutionalisation during the pandemic, addressed by Miracle Foundation India
The discourse through Miracle India’s session contributed practical insights to the conference substantially in the sphere of sustainable reintegration of children with families, and also to some extent in the sphere of prevention of child’s separation from family. The key perspective building and takeaways for the participants from this session included the following:
- The session was anchored in the vital importance of family for every child, the presence of professional gatekeeping mechanisms to strengthen families, application of the principles of necessity and suitability of the family based alternative care avenues for the child.
- As per the figure 1 below, an overview of the distinctive drivers across Miracle’s programs in keeping with the areas of Convergence (where the highlight is important role of multi disciplinary teams (MDTs) ie the education, health, mental health and other netwok of professional workforce, convergence among DCPU, allied depts facilitated by Miracle state teams), Collaboration (Miracle believes that collaboration is the KEY, collaborates with UNICEF, state & district child protection authorities, plays an active role in distinguished networks like the India Alternative Care Network (IACN), Better Care Network), Comprehensive Rehabilitation (through its expertise in child centered case management for safe and permanent reintegration.Figure 1
The session presented Miracle’s integrated approach of case management aimed at successful reintegration of children with family and society (figure 2). Here Miracle’s innovation of expedited case management model in case of sudden restoration of children during emergency situations of flood, pandemic was highlighted. The model was applied by Miracle’s CCI partners, as well as adapted by its partner state child protection authorities. The impact reflected in the examples shared – Out of 275 children who were sent back from some of Miracle’s partner CCIs, 180 children were permanently placed with family, In Gujarat - 711 out of 831 identified children safely, permanently reintegrated with families, an active initative taken by Gujarat State Child Protection Society in partnership with UNICEF and Miracle Foundation India.
- The assessment and planning tool Home Thrive Scale™ used in the case management process, and its automated version accessible by cell phone, tablet was featured. It was an important attraction for the participants to know that Miracle Foundation is soon to come up with the case management app meant for mobile phone.
- Miracle’s child centered case management toolkit available in the public domain https://miraclefoundationindia.in/resources/ as well as its email id for technical support (email@example.com) was flashed on the screen for all participants as an important takeaway.