Thursday, December 7, 2017

Child Protection Policy-SEVAI

Joyful children
Background: Children are always among the most vulnerable in an emergency. When lives are uprooted, the systems working to keep children safe – in their homes, schools and communities – may be undermined or damaged. Children have specific protection needs that are not met by other humanitarian sectors. Child protection in emergencies is defined specifically as the prevention of and response to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children during and after disasters, conflicts and other crises. It involves interconnected activities by a range of actors, whether national or community-based and/or by humanitarian staff supporting local capacities. Society for Education, Village Action & improvement (SEVAI) has a comprehensive child protection policy, specifically designed to give children their rights and fulfill its vision and goal of a world where children can live and be safe. 
Child rights:
All children are born with fundamental rights such as Right to Survival – to life, health, nutrition, name, nationality, Right to Development – to education, care, leisure, recreation, cultural activities, Right to Protection – from exploitation, abuse, neglect, Right to Participation – to expression, information, thought, religion. Core principles of the Act in relation to child protection are: The welfare and best interests of the child are paramount, The preferred way of ensuring a child's welfare is through support of the child's family, Intervention is not to exceed the level necessary to protect the child, Family participation in planning and decision making for children, Children and families have a right to information, Services are to be culturally appropriate, Coordination, consultation and collaboration with families, other professionals, agencies and the community and Accountability. SEVAI recognizes the importance of families to children and promote caring attitudes and responses towards children among families and all sections of the community so that the need for appropriate nurture and care and protection (including protection of the child’s cultural identity) is understood, risks to a child’s well-being are quickly identified and any necessary support, protection or care is to be promptly provided.
Children at Risk.
SEVAI recognizes three types of abuse such as Sexual, Physical and Emotional. A child is considered to be at risk if there is a significant chance they will suffer serious harm to their physical, psychological or emotional well-being and they do not have proper protection. This risk may be as a result of abuse, neglect or the inability of a parent to care for and protect a child or to exercise supervision and control over the child. In making an assessment about whether a child is at significant risk or has been abused or neglected attention must be had not only to the current circumstances of the child’s care but also to the history of the child’s care and the likely cumulative effect on the child of that history.

Run away children:

A large number of children run away each year and stay with strangers just met, putting them at risk of violence, abuse and exploitation. SEVAI programme aims to focuses on identifying and supporting vulnerable children who use the transport system to escape their problems and to reach them before abusers can. We work closely with professionals, officials   and the policymakers to ensure systems are in place to protect and support vulnerable children.

Compliances with Government Acts and norms

SEVAI adheres to Regulatory compliance pertaining to child protection and fundamental rights such as laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant Child protection policy. 
SEVAI comes into contact with children for safeguarding policies and procedures to ensure that every child, regardless of their age, gender, religion or ethnicity, can be protected from harm.SEVAI protects children from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence in the target area. Children experience poverty differently than adults do because of their vulnerability and lack of legal and economic status in society. How children are doing, in all aspects of their lives, reflects the overall health and development of the family, community and society they live in. A thriving society values all children, especially the most vulnerable, and upholds their human rights. Children are especially vulnerable to shocks, trauma and poverty. The most important figures in children’s lives – their parents and caregivers are often disempowered, poor and illiterate, thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty. Breaking this cycle of intergenerational poverty requires a fresh approach to Child protection and development.
Key areas of Child protection of SEVAI:
·         SEVAI’s programs focus on the most vulnerable children while aiming for the safety and well-being of all children. Working with governments, Donors and local community partners, SEVAI strives to create lasting change with improvements in services that protect children whether in a natural disaster, conflict, or development setting.
·         SEVAI child protection program activities include creating Child Friendly Spaces in emergencies, reunifying separated and unaccompanied children with their families in emergencies, developing public awareness campaigns against child trafficking, training programs for social workers to provide supportive care to families and children and advocating for more effective national protection policies and child welfare reform.
·         SEVAI Works with parents to help raise awareness about the importance to emergency preparedness and child protection.  An important part of all of SEVAI's child protection work, however, is the participation and leadership of the children themselves. To this end, we actively support child clubs and other child-led activities that educate children on how to protect themselves, and empower them to call for action in their communities.
·         SEVAI child protection policy provides a framework of principles, standards and guidelines on which to base individual and organizational practice in relation to such areas as: Recognizing and Responding to abuse, Safe recruitment of staff, Training, Responsibility and Accountability effective communication and working with other agencies, appropriate behavior and attitude.
·         Sphere standards will be followed to enable SEVAI team to access the information required quickly and easily to facilitate positive action in the protection of children through the development Child Protection Policy, highlighting the areas that need covering and providing statements.
·         Additional policy statements will need to be included to ensure that the policy is comprehensive. SEVAI is to help identify what additional policy statements will need to be developed to suit the individual.
·         SEVAI schools are significant personal and social environment in the lives of its students. A child-friendly school ensures every child an environment that is physically safe, emotionally secure and psychologically enabling. Teachers are the single most important factor in creating an effective and inclusive classroom.
·         SEVAI has developed Schools that are characterized as "inclusive, healthy and protective for all children, effective with children, and involved with families and communities - and children”.
·         SEVAI Schools are significant personal and social environment in the lives of its students. SEVAI child-friendly schools ensure every child an environment that is physically safe, emotionally secure and psychologically enabling.
·         Teachers are the single most important factor in creating an effective and inclusive classroom. Children are natural learners, but this capacity to learn can be undermined and sometimes destroyed. A child-friendly school recognizes, encourages and supports children's growing capacities as learners by providing a school culture, teaching behaviours and curriculum content that are focused on learning and the learner.
·         The ability of a school to be and to call itself child-friendly is directly linked to the support, participation and collaboration it receives from families.
·         SEVAI .Child-friendly schools aim to develop a learning environment in which children are motivated and able to learn. Staff members are friendly and welcoming to children and attend to all their health and safety needs.
·         We, at SEVAI, have a comprehensive child protection policy, specifically designed to give children their rights and fulfill our vision and goal of a world where children can live and be safe. Keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility.
·         A fundamental responsibility of SEVAI is to safeguard Children and SEVAI follows successfully requires a firm commitment from school leaders and all other school stakeholders. The school environment is unique, so knowing and understanding specific threats and hazards is the first step to a comprehensive student protection program. 
SEVAI Schools Children protection:

Key components include: 

1. Robust physical security (i.e. fences, gates and locks.) 

2. Access control policies and procedures (who is allowed unsupervised access to students?) 

3. Vigorous pre-employment screening for all personnel who have unsupervised access to students. This includes not just teachers and administrators, but also contractors, service personnel, and temporary and volunteer staff. 

4. Social/Emotional Curriculum where students learn about predatory behavior and how to speak up with confidence against harm. These topics should be taught in order to offer students the best defense of all: knowledge. 

5. Training for teachers and staff so they can recognize offender traits and behaviors, as well as signs of at-risk children and the appropriate actions to take. 

Even though SEVAI schools may have a proactive child protection program they should also be prepared to handle allegations of abuse, should they arise. Establishing and maintaining policies and procedures for reporting suspicions and anomalies regarding inappropriate or unsuitable behavior will also be required. These include a prompt response, investigation and the archived documentation of incidents and reports. Initiating and maintaining a relationship with the responsible local authorities before an incident is also critically important. 

In order to be prepared, these policies and procedures must be widely known and well-rehearsed. SEVAI and professionals who work with children are required to ensure that their policies and practices reflect this responsibility.  Child protection policy provides guidelines for organizations and their staff to create safe environments for children. It is a tool that protects both children and staff by clearly defining what action is required in order to keep children safe, and ensuring a consistency of behavior so that all staff follow the same process. 
A child protection policy also demonstrates SEVAI’s commitment to children and ensures public confidence in its safe practices.
SEVAI  organization’s child protection policy:
·         Clearly defined requirements to keep children and staff safe.
  • Clear ways of identifying concerns.
  • Appropriate procedures should a concern arise.
  • Guidelines for reporting and recording concerns.
  • Recruitment guidelines including screening and vetting procedures for both paid and unpaid staff.
  • Safe working practices and agreed staff behaviours.
  • Child protection training for all adults working with children.
·         A child protection policy provides a framework of principles, standards and guidelines on which to base individual and organisational practice in relation to such areas as:

•    Recognising and Responding to abuse
•    Safe recruitment of staff
•    Training
•    Responsibility and Accountability
•    Guidelines for effective communication and working with other agencies
•    Guidelines for appropriate behaviour and attitude.
·         It provides a structure of responsibility and identifies the action that staff should take if they have concerns. It is a source of information that staff can refer to and be reassured by - protecting both children and staff.

The  child protection policy also demonstrates SEVAI’s commitment to children and ensures public confidence in its safe practices.
While statistics indicate that the closed walls of a domestic environment are most conducive for child sexual abuse, institutional abuse is an entirely different arena as the two recent high-profile cases. At least in schools and other institutions where children are engaged, we can enforce guidelines to prevent the possibility of child sexual abuse. The first step towards providing a safe environment for students would be for schools to have a child protection policy.
Providing an environment conducive to holistic growth of children into responsible adults was the underlying tone of a consultative session on the ‘Role of Schools in Child Protection’ 
The role of schools in child protection is crucial “because a great portion of the day is spent in schools. There is a need for having at least one male and one female counselor in every school.
‘Child protection’ to refer to preventing and responding to violence, exploitation and abuse against children – including commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, child labour and harmful traditional practices, such as child marriage. child protection programmes also target children who are uniquely vulnerable to these abuses, such as when living without parental care, in conflict with the law and in armed conflict. Violations of the child’s right to protection take place in every country and are massive, under-recognized and under-reported barriers to child survival and development, in addition to being human rights violations.
Children subjected to violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect are at risk of death, poor physical and mental health, HIV/AIDS infection, educational problems, displacement, homelessness, vagrancy and poor parenting skills later in life.
Preventing and responding to violence, exploitation and abuse is essential to ensuring children’s rights to survival, development and well-being. It is  to create a protective environment, where girls and boys are free from violence, exploitation, and unnecessary separation from family; and where laws, services, behaviours and practices minimize children’s vulnerability, address known risk factors, and strengthen children’s own resilience. This approach is human rights-based, and emphasizes prevention as well as the accountability of governments. This protective environment rests in 2 strategic pillars: strengthening of national systems and social change, which translate into the following 8 key strategies:
Attitudes, traditions, customs, behaviour and practices: includes social norms and traditions that condemn injurious practices and support those that are protective.
Open discussion, including the engagement of media and civil society: acknowledges silence as a major impediment to securing government commitment, supporting positive practices and ensuring the involvement of children and families.
Children’s life skills, knowledge and participation: includes children, both girls and boys, as actors in their own protection through use of knowledge of their protection rights and ways of avoiding and responding to risks. Capacity of those in contact with the child: includes the knowledge, motivation and support needed by families and by community members, teachers, health and social workers and police, in order to protect children.
 Basic and Targeted Services: includes the basic social services, health and education to which children have the right, without discrimination, and also specific services that help to prevent violence and exploitation, and provide care, support and reintegration assistance in situations of violence, abuse and separation. Monitoring and oversight: includes effective systems of monitoring such as data collection, and oversight of trends and The goal of the programme is to prevent violence against children and to strengthen protection services for children in vulnerable situations.

The government should work hard to a reduction of child labour by strengthening child protection structures to adequately protect children against exploitation and abuse, improving the quality of education to increase enrolment and retention, raising awareness and empowering families and communities so that they take collective action against child labour, and addressing exclusion of vulnerable families to service provision and social protection schemes.
·         Child victims of sexual abuse/exploitation
·         Child victims of neglect or abuse
·         Child victims of trafficking
·         Children with disabilities
·         Children in a situation of migration
·         Unaccompanied children in a situation of migration
·         Children without parental care/in alternative care
·         Children in police custody or detention
·         Street children
·         Children of parents in prison or custody
·         Children in judicial proceedings
·         Children in or at risk of poverty
·         Missing children (e.g. runaways, abducted children, unaccompanied children going missing)
·         Children affected by custody disputes, including parental child abduction
·         Children left behind (by parents who move to another EU country for work)
·         Child victims of female genital mutilation or forced marriage
·         Children who are not in compulsory education or training or working children below the legal age for work.
 Executive summary of SEVAI’s Child protection policy:

Strengthening child protection systems is one of the most effective ways to build resilience and promote sustainable development. Experience shows that when children are protected in an effective and holistic manner, other humanitarian efforts are more successful. It is important to raise awareness on child protection concerns targeting beneficiaries, the wider population, parents, and communities Promote behavioral change and implement activities to develop life skills for children and their families and promotion of Activities to build resilience and enable better prevention and response to child protection concerns. It is important that SEVAIO provides structured social activities for children, facilitated by adults from their own community. This may include child friendly spaces and other psychosocial support activities. Child friendly spaces are environments in which children can access free and structured play, recreation, leisure and learning activities. Other psychosocial support activities that child protection actors may deliver, in collaboration with the wider humanitarian community, include mass communication about positive coping methods, the activation of social networks and psychological first aid.


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    In this episode, we learn that children should not engage in dangerous child labour and even if they perform light tasks for the household, these shouldn’t be done at the expense of going to school.

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