The Centre of Excellence in Alternative Care India

The Centre of Excellence in Alternative Care (CEAC) in India was established in 2016, and it aims to support the development of good quality alternative care for children in India. The Martin James Foundation has provided CEAC with a mix of technical, material and financial support. CEAC is now recognised as a leading advocate for alternative care for children in India.

The initial phase of CEAC’s work supported by MJF was to raise the level of government, and general public awareness on the harm institutions do to children’s development and the need in India for family-based care – including kinship and foster care.

The second area of work supported by MJF was to promote foster care and strengthen foster care practice through training and workshops. To facilitate this, MJF provided technical support to CEAC to develop an Indian User Guide on Foster Care for the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. The comprehensive handbook, adapted for India from international best practice guidance, on setting up and managing a national foster care system has become an influential guidance and reference manual in India on the design and delivery of foster care services.

Most recently, in partnership with UNICEF, the Centre of Excellence has expanded its work by developing a pilot project on family-based care/foster care in 4 districts in Bihar State. Community awareness and mobilisation activities on foster care have commenced, a mapping of registered orphanages and other child institutions undertaken, the design of the foster care pilot completed, and the identification of foster care families started. Due to the Covid-19 crisis in Bihar, the pilot is currently on hold. However, MJF is developing ways to continue to support this critical work in Bihar and provide CEAC with technical support as they move forward to deliver the pilot project.

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