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By:  Junaid ul Islam

Child protection consists of reducing risks to children’s holistic well being, making children’s rights a reality, restoring hope and dignified living where abuse has occurred and creating and enabling an environment that supports children’s positive development. In order to address the issues relating to child protection adequately and to provide a safe, secure and protective environment for the children who are in difficult circumstances, the ministry of woman and child development, Govt. of India has introduced a centrally sponsored scheme namely, Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) during the year 2009-10. The scheme has been revised in the year 2014.

The much awaited Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) has finally started its functioning in the state of J&K. Currently all districts of J&K have got working offices of District Child Protection Unit (DCPU’s), Juvenile Justice Board (JJB’s) and Child Welfare Committees (CWC’s).  Child rights and their protection is becoming reality in our conflict ridden state.

The functionaries at ICPS are trying their best to put in place the best system of ICPS in J&K. There are few challenges but we at ICPS have got very qualified staff at each and every level to overcome these challenges. However the need of the hour is sensitization and awareness about the scheme among various stakeholders in the state.

Be it the most important police department, educational department, health department, labour and employment and many others, it has been observed that these stakeholders are not aware about updates of legislations, schemes, polices, guidelines etc concerning child protection issues. As a result cases are not being registered, not disposed off on time and children are not being cared for, protected, handled and rehabilitated properly. The sensitization and orientation about the scheme is a necessary step which we all have to take together. There is responsibility on each and everyone among us to come forward and make the scheme a success story as it is in other states. By supporting schemes like ICPS we are protecting the future of our children.

We all know conflict is there but that does not mean we should not support anything which is for the benefit of the children of J&K who are worst victims of the turmoil.

(The writer is LLM International and Humanitarian Laws, Legal officer, ICPS J&K)

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