Field Task Force for Homeless Children
Thousands of children live on the streets of Delhi. Engaging in non-formal work and begging as a means for survival, these children survive precariously in the unsafe environment of city streets. They are deprived of adequate and appropriate adult protection, education and health care.
The Delhi Government has developed a comprehensive plan for bringing dignity into the lives of homeless children. With the strategic support of the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDC), the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) launched a project on 29 March 2022 in collaboration with Salaam Baalak Trust and Youthreach to deploy a dedicated field task force for rehabilitation and reintegration of children in street situations. The Government has also set aside Rs 10 crore to develop a residential school for such children in the budget for FY 2022-23.
The field task force constituted by DCPCR works on identifying and providing educational, financial and guardianship support to homeless children. The team consists of caseworkers and counsellors who are deployed district-wise and work in close collaboration with the Child Welfare Committees (CWCs).
DDC played a crucial role during the first phase of the project by conducting research and bringing key stakeholders to the table. DDC mapped out the journey of a vulnerable child as per the Juvenile Justice Act and identified key gaps within the system. DDC conducted site visits and discussions with multiple stakeholders including non-profits and DCPCR to identify issues which when solved would have a multiplier effect and improve long-term outcomes for vulnerable children. One of the key gaps identified through this exercise was the poor focus on the rehabilitation of vulnerable children. Therefore, in order to build real-world evidence and strengthen practices in the field, DDC supported DCPCR in designing an evidence-led pilot program that focuses on the rehabilitation of homeless children.
Objectives of the Project
The Project aims to elevate the lives of street children, help vulnerable children combat their socio-economic challenges and develop into responsible citizens. The task force would focus on identifying these children and providing educational, financial and guardianship support to street children. The setting up of residential schools by the Delhi Government further strengthens this project's effort to provide street children with a safe environment immersed in learning and socio-psychological support.
The task force is responsible for implementing a five-pillar model of rehabilitation:
- Shelter and Home for the Child: A safe and peaceful home is a primary need, which when provided, ensures the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the child.
- Education and Vocational Training: Quality education is not only the right of every child but also one of the most important instruments of growth and prosperity.
- Counselling and Medical Support: Several of these children require counselling and medical interventions to combat the physical, emotional and mental stressors they've faced on the streets.
- Guardianship: Any child requires adult care, attention and supervision and a familial environment for the full and harmonious development of their personality.
- Sponsorship: The Government, along with NGOs and voluntary donors, seeks to provide financial support to families that take care of these children and provide them with a safe home, a well-rounded familial environment, regular and quality education, and necessary medical and counselling support.
In merely 3 months, 6 project workers have been deployed across districts of South, South-East and North East & Shahdara and have undertaken rehabilitation of around 428 street children. Of these children, 337 have been enrolled in schools and Aanganwadis, 360 have been supported in creating essential identification documents and 205 children have been supported in creating bank accounts.
We also humbly request all the citizens of Delhi to join hands with us to secure the future of street children by informing the sighting of these children on our Helpline number +919311551393.
The Delhi government under the leadership of Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal has developed a comprehensive plan aimed at bringing dignity and care into the lives of homeless and street-associated children in Delhi. In this year’s budget, we have set aside INR 10 crore to create a residential school that will not only provide education but also emotional and psychological support to vulnerable children. By launching this taskforce, we will be able to deploy focussed efforts to start providing these children with the basic amenities they deserve including education, financial support and guardianship.
Streets pose a serious threat of exploitation for children who beg, sell goods and spend their days on the red light junctions and in busy markets. Children deserve to be in schools and have a safe place to sleep. With the launch of this project, the Early Warning System and DCPCR’s 24*7 emergency helpline, the Commission is launching a comprehensive mechanism for identification, prevention and relief for children at the risk of street situations. With these interventions, we are confident that we will be able to provide education, health and safety to all the children who are at the risk of exploitation in Delhi.
We are privileged to be a part of this project with DCPCR to provide relief to street children and help them exercise their right to education, health and safety.