Centre releases guidelines for Mission Vatsalya
- In order to access Central funds and benefits under Mission Vatsalya (an umbrella scheme for child protection services in the country), the centre has issued certain guidelines.
What is Mission Vatsalya?
- Mission Vatsalya promotes family-based non-institutional care of children in difficult circumstances based on the principle of institutionalization of children as a measure of last resort.
- It is one of the new triad of schemes along with Mission Shakti, and Poshan 2.0, that aims at securing a healthy and happy childhood for every child.
Components under the mission include:
- Improve the functioning of statutory bodies;
- Strengthen service delivery structures;
- Upscale institutional care/services;
- Encourage non-institutional community-based care;
- Emergency outreach services;
- Training and capacity building.
- It will be implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in partnership with state governments and UT administrations, with a fund-sharing pattern in a 60:40 ratio.
- However, for the eight states in the Northeast — as well as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the UT of J&K — the Centre and state/UT’s share will be 90:10.
- The Centre will cover the whole cost in UTs without a legislature.
What are the new guidelines?
- Official changes
- States will have to retain the official name, as given by the Centre. Only a correct translation to local language is permissible.
- The centre detailed the process by which funds will be disbursed to states under various heads by defining institutionalised arrangements.
- Funds to states will be approved through the Mission Vatsalya Project Approval Board (PAB), which will be chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of WCD.
- The Secretary will scrutinise and approve annual plans and financial proposals received from states and UTs for release of grants.
- Special arrangements
- States/UTs have also been directed to focus on special needs children with physical or mental disabilities.
- Institutions now have to provide special educators, therapists and nurses to impart occupational therapy, speech therapy, verbal therapy and other remedial classes.
- The staff in these special units will have to know sign language, Braille, etc, according to the new guidelines.
- Newly shouldered tasks
- The guidelines state that Mission Vatsalya will support State Adoption Resource Agencies (SARA), which will support the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).
- This move aims at promoting in-country adoption and regulating inter-country adoption.
- Mission Vatsalya, in partnership with states and districts, will execute a 24×7 helpline service for children, as defined under JJ Act, 2015.
Name change saga: Child Protection Services Scheme
- Before 2009, three schemes were being implemented under the WCD Ministry for children in need of protection:
- Programme for juvenile justice for children in need of care and protection, and children in conflict with law;
- Integrated programme for street children and
- Scheme for assistance to homes for children
- These were clubbed in 2010 into a single scheme called the Integrated Child Protection Scheme.
- It was then renamed “Child Protection Services” Scheme in 2017, and again as Mission Vatsalya in 2021-22.