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National Partnership Meet 2008

The National Partnership Meet (NPM) of Directors is an annual interface between CHILDLINE India Foundation (CIF) and the Directors of CHILDLINEs across the country. The NPM is organized with the aim of providing a platform to partners to share their views and concerns on policy related matters of CHILDLINE and Child rights.

The 10 th National Partnership Meet of CHILDLINE Directors was held in Chennai from 10 th -12 th November, 2008. This three day interface witnessed presentations, discussions and brainstorming on what has CHILDLINE achieved, what are the challenges currently being faced and what is the road map ahead?

With an encouraging jumpstart from guests of honor Mr. Tripathi, Inspector General of the Police Headquarters and Mr. D. Vivekananda, Joint Secretary, Social welfare, Tamil Nadu, the CHILDLINE network got straight down to work to deliberate on ideas, decisions and policy changes across the board-from the funding crisis, to the changing face of the CHILDLINE service, to the techno savvy CHILDLINE service of the future.

CHILDLINE is now in its 12th year of operation. Being the frontline child protection body in India , protecting the rights of children as well as pursuing its commitment to the United Nation Convention of Rights of Children (UNCRC) - it is important that CHILDLINE has a formal Child Protection Policy endorsing this commitment. Day 1 of the workshop saw the Directors coming together and brainstorming about what are the child protection mandates and the minimum norms which should be integrated at all levels of this network.

With the face of intervention and advocacy also changing and becoming much more complex, Ms. Vidya Reddy from Tulir gave important inputs about how teams could gear up and capacitate themselves to take on cases of Child Sexual Abuse. CIF's year old battle on the Anchorage shelter case has also set an example of advocacy and created inroads with the state of Maharashtra as well as the possibility of a separate Children's Act.

CHILDLINE has gone far and beyond its mandate. Apart from the basic functioning of the helpline, the CHILDLINE network is involved in legal interventions, training on Juvenile Justice, complex multi-partner interventions, as well as disaster relief and management. Regional presentations from each zone revealed the extent of CAB and advocacy initiatives taken up by each zone.

CHILDLINE's original and most important mandate is its commitment to every child in need of care and protection and calls do matter. The future of CHILDLINE service will see a segregation of specialized domains into voice, intervention and advocacy facilitated by technical infrastructure of the Centralized Call Centre. This is bound to make a mark on CHILDLINE's mandate of Child Protection.

For the road map ahead the CHILDLINE network has to work together as a force and develop aggressive strategies for fundraising, lobbying with central and state ministries, develop special tasks forces for Missing Children and Child protection, bring a conscience to the child component in policies and budgets, equip CHILDLINE teams on important training modules such as on Trafficking, Disaster Management and Child Sexual Abuse as well as sail a smooth and sometimes bumpy transition from a decentralized to a centralized model.