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Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Child Welfare Committee (CWC) – Government of Maharashtra

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assault_350_121812092334National Legal Research Desk

The Standard Operating Procedures were developed through a collaborative partnership with the Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Maharashtra, representatives of NGOs, legal experts, child welfare committee members and UNICEF.

They have evolved out of   carried out by social and legal experts, people from within the Government system and outside it and are enriched by the examples of good practices from the field that have worked in the interest of children. These efforts spanned over an entire year before the SOPs were finalized and issued as a Government Resolution.

The Document was subsequently reviewed by a group of national experts on Juvenile Justice and is now available in English and Marathi. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 is a powerful legal instrument for the care, protection, rehabilitation and social re-integration of children who come within its ambit. The provisions of this legislation are in keeping with the international standards for children’s rights defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other international agreements. And yet, significant gaps still exist between the law, the standards set therein and what children experience in their everyday lives. Issues of trafficking, abuse, abandonment and forms of exploitation such as child labour, render many children vulnerable to harm and deny them their rights to schooling, to good health and to the development of their full potential.

This calls for state and civil society to step up efforts to reduce children’s vulnerability and protect them from the negative experiences of abuse, harm and exploitation. One of the most powerful and unique features of Juvenile Justice Act is that it empowers members of civil society to serve on the Child Welfare Committee for care and protection of children.

The need for SOPs was expressed by members of the CWC during their initial training and reiterated by the findings of a Study on the Role and Functioning of the CWC conducted by the Department of Women and Child Development and UNICEF. The Standard Operating Procedures are an endeavor in knowledge building. We hope the child friendly procedures; methods and tools detailed in it will help the Child Welfare Committees and other duty bearers to understand and play their role effectively and implement the provisions of the Act for the care, protection and rehabilitation of children.

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