S E C T I O N I I I N O N - I N S T I T U T I O N A L S E R V I C E S F...
S E C T I O N I I I
N O N - I N S T I T U T I O N A L S E R V I C E S F O R C H I L D R E N
Smt. Violet Alva
K u m a r i Armaity Desai
Shri B. P. Agarwal
LADIES AND G E N T L E M E N ,
life. We did not have the impact of the
horrors of war to break up the home and the
I deem it an honour to be invited here this community life, to scatter our children to the
morning. I am thankful to Shrimati Mary winds and to the wolves, as has been seen
Clubwala Jadhav who asked me to be the in the West during and after the last two
Chairman of this particular section at this great wars. Whatever these observations
Conference. I was a little reluctant for the may be, it is fundamentally true that the
simple reason that one has not much to say recognition of the child as an entity is very
on the Non-Institutional Services for recent in the history of our civilization. In
Children in this country as yet. I am not the present day context, it is the United
quite aware whether any systematic research Nations that has given us the declaration of
has been done on an all-India level. I do the Rights of the child in which is embodied
know that efforts are afoot to collect informa-
all that is good and proper for one who
tion. However, a subject on which little is cannot speak for himself. We wise people
done and still less is known about, is a good have been sitting and judging on what the
subject to dwell on at length from both child shall do and shall not do, where he shall
academic and practical points of view.
live and not live, how he shall behave and
In our country even the Institutional care not behave forgetting that the little one has
of children who need it is not sufficiently and also an opinion of his own not necessarily or
largely available. Non-Institutional Services, always wrong.
of course, are in their bare infancy.
Society all over is divided into classes even
Looking at the East and the West in this in this era when talk of socialism and equality
particular sphere, we find as do the social of opportunities is greatly in fashion. Added
workers and research students that the West to this evil of classes is added the caste
has advanced very far in children's care by system in India which increases evil in
the methods of Non-Institutional Services. the field of child welfare. There was a time
We in India remained colonial and feudal when children of certain strata were not only
for a long period and so were not able to neglected but were enslaved because of the
build up our Institutions in the manner in socio-economic conditions of their parents
which our needs manifested themselves by and families and from very early childhood
our changing circumstances on the socio-
they were pawned away in the slave market.
economic plane before and after Indepen-
Labour and serfdom was fully borne by
dence. Even so, we lagged behind the West, children who were unfortunate in their lowly
because of our own social customs and family birth. It is so even today in some parts of
C H A I R M A N ' S ADDRESS
3 9 5
our country where children are pawned away. breaking up of the joint family and the rapid
For bare necessities they are often sold to industrialisation that makes this subject of
become beasts of burden.
great importance this morning.
To begin with, we must look into the
T h e great writers and thinkers of the declaration of the Children's Charter as adop-
19th century were fighting lonesome battles ted by the General Assembly of the United
for the child through prose and poetry on Nations. It embodies not only the safeguards
the socio-economic malaise. It is only in the for the physical and mental immaturity of the
20th century that the concept of the child child but lays down certain guarantees by
being an entity has been recognised. T h e which the child enjoys certain rights to happy
child has come a long way and yet the childhood and to the full and harmonious
miseries of yesterday are not over for the development of his personality. The payment
children of the world. It was the revolu-
of State and other assistance towards the
tionary thought of the 18th and 19th centuries maintenance of children of large families,
that gave us in this century the Charters of as laid down in the Children's Charter, has
Rights. T h e peasantry, the labour, the only been accepted in the totalitarian States.
women and the children have all been In India the child population according to
recognised severally and singly to have their the 1951 census figures was 38.3%. However,
I am not able to give any specific statistics as
W h e n we talk of Non-Institutional Services to which type and from which strata Indian
in India, we have at the back of our mind children would need Non-Institutional care.
poverty which drives children to Institutional In India we are still divided in the sharp
or Non-Institutional care. There may be categories of 'Haves' and 'Havenots'. T h e
other causes than poverty like broken homes children of the privileged enjoy high
and destitution but our society has not yet privileges from the cradle to manhood. Com-
sufficiently advanced to make the more petition, intellectual or physical, does not
modern causes the basis of Institutional or stand in their way as yet, the motivating force
Non-Institutional care. It is often the of bringing out the best amongst those born
economic dependence that brings in the as under privileged has not yet been created.
humanitarian approach which fights for a
T h e country's Five Year Plans have not
minimum programme of combating poverty given any priority to the total child popula-
in the lives of children. T h e necessities of life tion of this nation. We have to wait for the
and decency arouse public conscience to fourth and the fifth plan to make that
build up Non-Institutional Services for the beginning. In reality, we have skipped over
care of children.
a whole generation from the date of
Non-Institutional Care of the Children.
— Independence. T h e work of moulding
W h a t is the meaning of Non-Institutional human beings will begin only at the end of
care? By and large all children receive Non-
two decades. While talking of the Institu-
Institutional care, in the sense t h a t home is tional and Non-Institutional care, a great
not an institution nor the average school, emphasis should be laid by us on the fact
children when they are in the care of those that there is only one machine of imperative
to whom they belong to could be classified importance and that is the h u m a n machine.
as Non-Institutional children. Most of our T h e lack of material resources have not
studies have to be based on the Western enabled us to attend to the needs of the
system of Non-Institutional care. It is the human being and even today when we talk
3 9 6
C H A I R M A N ' S ADDRESS
of the h u m a n being, we skip over the infant usually these innocents find their way into
and talk of the adolescents. T h e nation is to - care institutions.
be m a d e from its children. Children are the
T h e Non-Institutional Service is a new
wealth of a nation. T h e Soviet U n i o n has and growing feature in India. Our society
given highest priority to the care of children is still consolidated and the Institution of
as the basic wealth of their nation.
family is firm-rooted even in crowded
U n d e r the circumstances prevailing in the modernized cities where single-room tene-
West, there are nearly seven types of excep-
ments make no homes. Pigeon holes and
tional homes, the children of which may need brick-boxes help nervous tensions to increase.
Such conditions of housing, sometimes create
(i) the unattached,
a situation in which children may come
(ii) the dependent,
to need Non-Institutional services. T h e
(iii) the inadequately housed,
creche system is finding its way in factory
(iv) the unmarried,
and farm gradually, but t h a t is not enough.
(v) the childless,
T h a t is only the first stage to childhood.
(vi) the disturbed, and
Non-Institutional services have to develop
(vii) the ineffective.
from early childhood i.e. from the age of
six to the age of eighteen. This is the most
T h e conditions under which these types of critical period in a child's life, his manhood
homes come into existence are also present in is a reflection of this short period of first
India but they do not dominate the Indian and second adolescence. Beautiful cities are
social scene. Somehow or the other even the coming up and balwadis are multiplying fast.
slum dwellers and those who maintain Like the Western countries, we have
families under stress and strain both of emo-
forgotten to look after our adolescents.
tional and economic type are not rare but Physical energy at this age has to be
are able to adjust their lives somehow better channelised and expended in the right
than those in the West. Child has a very manner. That would avoid Non-Institutional
positive place in the Indian family in what-
Services to the maximum. A healthy body,
ever circumstances it may be placed. T h e a healthy mind and a healthy body from
dog, the cat, the cow, the goat and the child, the age of ten to twenty pays back to the
everyone enjoys a sense of security in our nation high dividend.
way of life. There is something very deep
within us that helps us to hold together.
T h e joint family system which is now
Utter poverty may wreck the future of the breaking up was a way of life in which
child and throw him on the Institutional or children were neither deprived nor deserted.
Non-Institutional Services. As yet children Neither death of parents nor u n h a p p y homes
are not generally unattached except that led the child to any kind of physical, mental
urbanisation tempts needy children and often or emotional insecurity. Love and affection
takes them away from home. T h e dependent were always available to children in such
family out of sheer poverty may give the homes. T h e disadvantages also were many
child to the care of others. T h e inadequately under this system. However, we are fast
housed family will still hug their children urbanising and standardising ourselves to
even if they live in 'jhuggis a n d jhopris'. T h e accept the pattern of advanced Western
Institution of unmarried mothers is not yet countries.
recognised in India as it is in the West though
—There is no single adoption
foundlings are there to be cared for but code on an all-India basis. If Non-
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3 9 7
Institutional Services are to grow, then this to meat and fish are restricted to vegetarian
Conference must take cognizance of giving diet in the name of economy.
rights to those who want to take children
Religion and the way of worship would
in adoption. Without such a law on our also stand in the way in a country which
statute book, the special kind of Non-
is deeply rigid on this issue. It is shocking
Institutional Services would meet with the way we are so torn asunder by religious
obstacles. Adoption has to be looked at from dogmas and doctrines; I would not adopt a
many angles. There may be foreigners as Muslim child and you would not adopt a
adopters or foster parents who would be Hindu child and so on, leave alone problems
genuinely interested in the bringing up of arising out of untouchability.
Indian children and vice versa. I do not
With the rising tempo of the struggle for
know whether there is any legal method of existence, a child may suffer at the hands
assisting such adoption or fostering..
of his foster parents for want of time to love
The Dalai Lama, I understand, has and understand the child. For Non-
recently authorized Tibetan refugee children Institutional Services, it must be borne in
to be taken to foreign lands in temporary mind that the child's basic need is emotional
adoption roughly upto the age of sixteen. security. It is always suitable for a child to
Perhaps conditions have been laid down for live in a family where there are children
the care of these children after their period of his own age group on whom he could
of foster care is over. One would like to look upon as his own brothers and sisters.
know the position of these children at that Children learn more by imitation than by
period. Whether these Tibetan children precept.
would be able to decide for themselves at
the age of sixteen; whether they want to should never foist foster care on any child.
return to their original homes or to the care If the child has to live with strangers, the
of the Dalai Lama or remain in their foster child's mind has to be very carefully
watched. Trying to do good to the child
from our own angle, we might give him a
On the subject of adoption, there is not shock for the rest of his life from which he
very much scope in India as the pressure may not recover. Therefore, each child
of over-population in every family dis-
according to his needs. Case workers will
courages the motivating force to accept have to be very cautious in studying the
another's child to share love and care. The psychology of the child before the child is
other disadvantage is the poor economic handed over to any kind of Non-Institutional
standards of one's own which discourages Service. Child guidance clinics are increas-
one to look after somebody else's child when ing. They would become the real centres
very often one's own children are neglected.
from where the child must take off for
There are problems such as vegetarianism manhood. Basic foundation must remain
and non-vegetarianism reaching to a physical, mental and emotional balance.
militant plane which also stands in the way
Cases are rampant when children are
of foster care. I eat beef, you eat pork, taken in the name of foster care and treated
he eats neither, these sentiments could be as servants and exploited thoroughly.
carried to breaking point. Already in our
backward class hostels this is seen. Tribals
Non-Institutional services in the form of
and Scheduled Caste Children who are used private and public agencies have to be verv
3 9 8
carefully regulated by the State. Public foster care must supervise the home, keeping
agencies inspire more confidance in people a friendly but watchful eye on the progress
because of their official character whereas of the child in his foster home as well as
the voluntary or the private agencies give in his natural home. Therefore, it must be
more personal touches which are very vital based on a legal code.
in the life of a child. Adopters and adoptees
Income and ideal both in case of adoption
have to be very carefully studied as matching and fostering have to be kept in view
of both is a delicate issue. The professional whether it is a case of adoption; whether it is
social worker can be of vital importance. a case of foster parents. It is the mental motive
The social worker, therefore, should watch basically for which the child is given to
the interest of the child and adoption should someone. So temperament and motive must
be authorized only when adoptee stands to run smoothly to bring out the total develop-
gain. The home must offer security reckoned ment of the child's personality.
in terms of emotional balance. Love, trust
The children can be classified as
and mutual confidence between the adopter handicapped:
and adoptee should be considered of primary
importance rather than money and the
(a) morally, (b) mentally and (c) phy-
affluence of the home. Healthy economic sically.
status, family background, social relation-
Therefore, while the physically handi-
ships and above all the motives must be capped child may need special treatment not
carefully examined before the child is taken so easily available by adopted or foster
up for Non-Institutional care. Large
parents, morally and mentally handicapped
difference should be studied very carefully child needs an equally good care in its
and the child should be handed not to those handling. No normal child is morally wrong
who would be his grand-parents but to those or mentally perverse. It is the adults who
who could play the role of normal parents. have to watch their own actions lest we
The foster parents may or may not have contaminate these innocent children.
their own children but all this would be a
"I have seen flowers grow in stony places:
matter of close study. Just as a child's
And kindness done by men with ugly faces:
psychology is studied, so must the psychology
And the gold cup won by the worst horse
of foster parents be very carefully studied
at the races;
both for mental and physical health.
So I trust too ".
The difference between adoption and
In our lopsided society, all children do not
foster care is that in the case of adoption, enjoy equal opportunities to run the race of
the child passes on permanently to a new life. How dare we then plan for those whom
set of parents but in the case of foster care, we debar from the best things in life?
the foster parents may be paid or they may
Entrenched in the old way of thinking
pay an agreed sum for the maintenance and with new types of vested interests springing
upbringing of the child.
up around us, one has to very cautiously
Placing of the child rests on a voluntary move within the plan to create proper
agency or one based on a local authority for incentives in men, women and children for
the ultimate responsibility for the child in a healthy growth to build up new India.
the care of foster parents which may be Even though the per capita income has
a short-term or a long-term period.
increased in India, it has been observed by
The agency so giving away the child in economists that the economic disparities
C H A I R M A N ' S ADDRESS
3 9 9
have also grown. This is indeed an ugly in the next decade, we shall have no more
growth in a country which has pledged her-
decades to play with. In this century, events
self to socialistic pattern. Child care has to will move at a new pace, when the some-
be based on improved standards of living at w h a t neglected generation of a decade and
family level. Therefore, we have to zealously a half reaches m a t u r i t y and begins to
guard our own social conscience against the question our motives. It is not the planning,
evils t h a t are creeping in like white-ants that it is the implementing with an honesty of
m a y eat up the welfare State. T h e r e is a lot purpose t h a t is going to count. It is not
of heart-searching to be done if an honest the meeting and the speaking, it is the doing
a t t e m p t has to be m a d e for Non-Institutional and the achievement that are going to impress
Services for children. It is no use doing the younger generation. We are their
welfare work in a make-believe manner. If guardians and trustees. Let us discharge our
distribution of wealth and opportunities for responsibilities towards t h a t end with faith
building up h u m a n beings are not available in ourselves and faith in our children.
S C O P E A N D R E Q U I R E M E N T S O F A D O P T I O N S E R V I C E S
S M T . R. SAINI, M.A., Dip. S.S.A.
Workers in the sphere of child welfare of a homeless child and the rehabilitation of
today increasingly stress for every child the the natural mother are also of equal concern.
importance of a stable family life with
sound parental love as a necessary requisite
In the H i n d u Adoption and Maintenance
for the development of a healthy and normal Act 1956, we notice many welcome changes,
personality. Various alternative arrange-
where provision for adoption of girls, orphans,
ments, such as institutionalisation, placement and illegitimate children is made, which were
with various relatives, employment at an absent in the old Act. T h e Holy K o r a n
early age, etc. are resorted to, when natural forbids adoption, though by custom a few
parents are unable to offer a home to their M o h a m m e d a n couples are known to take up
child. A dependable community in a child's children, when they have none of their
life, we know, contributes most to his life and own. T h e new Act has opened up a promis-
the method of adoption, is found to offer ing avenue for those anxious to derive
benefits out of the adoption service. T h e
implementation, however, is yet awaited.
Adoption is the legal and social process by Our Juvenile Courts and Institutions continue
which the child of one set of parents becomes to place children on a permanent basis, with
the child of another set of parents. It confers childless couples after preliminary investiga-
upon the child and the adoptive parents, tion on a "Fit Person Basis".
substantially the same mutual rights and
responsibilities, as those which exist in a
Adoption programmes are gaining increas-
natural parent-child relationship.
ing popularity in the Western Countries
today and it is learnt t h a t in the United
While the process of adoption with its States the number of parents wanting to
modern technique may sound relatively adopt babies far exceeds the number of
recent, ancient history and literature reveals, children available for adoption. Private
that it was fairly common, in the Greek, individuals such as doctors, and lawyers, as
Babylonian, Roman and Indian Culture. well as child placement agencies operate these
Besides serving a social and emotional need programmes. While adoptive placement by
adoption or the " D a t t a k " ceremony also h a d private individuals, undertaken in all good
a religious significance to Hindus. A child faith, may or m a y not prove successful, those
was also mainly taken up with a view to made by licensed agencies are preferable.
maintain continuity in the family name. We Equipped with a particular body of profes-
note, however, that through the years the sional knowledge, it is difficult to expect of
emphasis has shifted—the interest of the an individual to study the various angles of
adoptive parents which was given precedence a given problem and the problem of adoption
above all other considerations then, is now in particular with all its implications. T h u s
only a part of total concern where placement a lawyer m a y arrange to place with a client
SCOPE AND R E Q U I R E M E N T S OF ADOPTION SERVICES
4 0 1
a child of an unmarried mother and may viewed individually and jointly with a view
take all necessary precautions to see that to realise whether adoption is the answer to
the surrender is complete and the baby is their need. Often a child is sought in
not reclaimed at a later stage by its natural adoption to serve some other emotional need
mother. But in the process he may com-
in one or both of the adoptive parents.
pletely over-look the emotional factors Psychiatric help is m a d e available to those
involved, which m a y later affect the requiring such aid. T h e actual placement
individual adjustments of all the three parties is done only after the child has leaned to
concerned. An Adoption Agency on the accept the adoptive parents. T h e placement
other h a n d is fully equipped with the expert is supervised by the Agency for a period of
services of a lawyer, a doctor, a psychologist, 6 months to a year depending upon t h e
a psychiatrist and a case-worker, whose team policy of each placement agency, after which
approach lends solidarity to the whole the adoptive parents file a petition to a
programme. Moreover, an adoption agency, probate court, which passes the decree to
unlike an individual, has continuity in a legalize the adoption, thus ending the legal
given community and is also more amenable guardianship of the agency and conferring
to social control. All the three parties the same on the adoptive parents.
involved, the n a t u r a l mother, the child and
the adoptive parents can always fall back
An awareness of the need to start similar
upon the agency's counselling services even services in the country is seen in the efforts
after the placement is effected.
of a few organizations who have on their
staff trained and understanding personnel.
T h e process of adoptive placement, in Thorough investigations of the adoptive
most agencies is generally spread over a parents are undertaken as regards their
period of six months to a year or more. T h e capacity to have a child of their own, health,
case worker, in her interview with the age, religion, background, financial status,
natural mother, closely examines with her their status in the community. Background
the reasons for giving up the child and helps of the child, where possible is closely studied
her to realise t h a t under the circumstances and medical check up done. But due to the
she has m a d e only the best possible arrange-
lack of appropriate foster home placement
ment in surrendering the child to the Agency facilities, doubtful right of agencies to act
for adoption purposes. Thus she can go as guardians, and overcrowded nature of our
away to lead her own life without a sense institutions, etc., placements have often to
of guilt-feeling towards her child. T h e child be effected within a very short period.
is further placed under the care of an Follow-ups are maintained by some of these
understanding foster mother where its agencies and medical and legal assistance is
physical, mental and emotional development made available to parties involved from the
are carefully studied. In case of an older community resources. We are now at a stage
child the case-worker often has to help him where we need sound adoption programmes,
to accept the break from his natural mother planned and executed by a few licensed
and further prepare him to move to an agencies, who also need to be recognised by
adoptive home. T h e study of the adoptive law as legal guardians, who could have the
home is exhaustive in terms of age, quality, right to accept the relinquished children
religion, health, background, marital adjust-
from the natural parents and place them
ments, financial situation etc. of the adoptive for adoption in suitable homes. However, we
couple. T h e adoptive parents are inter-
need to be on our guard to check any
4 0 2
SMT. R. SAINI, M.A., DIP. S.S.A.
over enthusiastic programmes, and avoid these programmes in the community. Law
resultant consequences. In integrating some has an important bearing on social problems
of the techniques or plans adopted by the and as such its framework should be
western countries, we should be careful to widened to include the largest number of
gear them, to suit our own social pattern, individuals who could derive its benefits. Our
and the total welfare programme in our legislation regarding adoption perhaps needs
country. Appointment of a Central Body is to be broad-based and secular.
therefore suggested, who could lay down
minimum standards and rules regarding the
The experiment, in terms of trained
appointment of trained personnel, type of personnel, development of foster home
foster home placements preceding adoption, services etc. on the face of it presents a
the minimum period of a child's stay in a costly picture, but will no doubt pay back
foster home etc., which will ensure an in terms of presenting to the society, a group
efficient service. Periodical evaluations on the of normal and healthy personalities,
part of these various agencies will further possessing in them every potentiality of good
facilitate us to gauge the effectiveness of citizenship.
R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R D E V E L O P M E N T O F F O S T E R H O M E
P R O G R A M M E S I N I N D I A
D R . ( M I S S ) G . R . B A N E R J E E
T a t a Institute of Social Sciences
Foster family care of children as an interfere with the studies of his pupils.1 At
organised social service in India is young in Takshshila the students, who paid their
years but old in experience. Instances of this teachers' honorarium in advance, stayed in
sort of care can be traced from very ancient their houses like eldest sons doing no m a n u a l
times. As this paper is confined to the foster work and spending all their time in study.
family care barring adoption (which is a type Free students (Dhammantavasikas) on the
of foster family care) it will neither deal with other h a n d used to do all kind of manual
the institutional care nor the practice of work for their teachers. They worked by day,
adoption. However, it will deal with varied when paying scholars were receiving their
aspects of foster family care.
lessons. Teachers used to hold special classes
for them at night.2
In olden days we find instances of foster
Irrespective of the fact t h a t some students
family care for students in the homes of their paid fees and others did work for the teacher
teachers. Many students used to live under in place of fees, the teacher took interest in
the roof of their teacher, and there was a the welfare of both the types of students and
bond of affection existing between the teacher the cordial relations that existed between the
and the taught. Teacher's wife was revered teacher, his family and the student continued
like mother and teacher's children were like even after the period of education was over.
siblings. T h e teacher looked after the
education of the student (including academic,
Until very recently 'Tol' (Sanskrit school)
social and moral education) and his family teachers in Bengal used to keep some students
took care of the physical needs of the child. in their homes. Apart from imparting them
However, his emotional needs were not free education, the teachers provided food
overlooked as he was regarded a member of and clothing, too, for the students. They
the family and bestowed love and affection. were like the members of the teacher's family.
T h e student was expected to do any kind This pattern of foster family care of
of work in the teacher's house. In practice, adolescent boys is even now found in the
the teacher used to expect service only from families of some teachers of Sanskrit, though
the poor students who were unable to offer the number has gone down considerably.
any fees. T h e preceptor was, however,
Another type of foster family care is found
required to see to it that the work did not in homes that take up a young student as a
1 Na chainam adhyayana vighnena atmarthes u parundhyadanapatsu . Apastambh a D h a r m a
Samhita I. 2.8.
2 Dhammantevasika achariyassa kamma m katva ratti m sippamugganhantiachariy a
bhagadayaka gehe jettha puttaviya hutva sippameva ugganhanti Tilamutthi jataka No. 252.
D R . ( M I S S ) G . R . B A N E R J E E
4 0 4
boarder and let him be a part of the family. taken into 'work homes' in which compensa-
T h e child goes to a school for education but tion is received in the form of services
lives in the foster family. This happens performed by the child and 'wage homes' in
usually when a child has to move out of his which the child receives payment for his
natural abode and go to a town or city for services in addition to his maintenance.
education. There are not hostels attached to
It is true that in a number of wage homes
all the educational institutions. Even when and work homes children are exploited, yet
there are hostels some guardians prefer there are instances where a child in such a
putting their ward under the care of a family home has been well taken care of and is
known to them. Quite often this is the home regarded more like a member of the family
of a relative. T h e child generally pays for than a mere servant.
his boarding and is taken care of by the foster
T h e n there are cases of foster family day
( Sometimes foster care is found on a care. When a child's mother is dead or
different level. When one of the parents is ailing or working, the child is put into
dead or both are dead, the child is taken another family for the day and is taken back
into a relative's family and looked after as home by the parent in the evening. T h e
a member of the family. It may end up in child develops close ties with this family and
permanent foster family care though not does not feel left out when the parents are
amounting to adoption in the sense that the away. T h e parents pay for the child's food
child does not inherit the family property or and sometimes a little for the care also.
take the family surname. He also does not
All the varied types of foster family care
call the master or the mistress of the house are existent in our country in some form or
'daddy' or 'mummy'. He calls them by the other and are more or less worked out by
relationship they have with him. Often there the parties concerned. In order to make the
is a great deal of attachment between the existing services more efficient and more
child even when he grows up and the mem-
widely accessible to children requiring such
bers of the foster family. At times it has been care there is need for developing foster family
seen that the child after attaining his youth care as a social service in our country.
gets married and stays with his wife in the
same family. Often the marriage is arranged
T h e infants need care in foster homes
by the foster family both for boys and girls. rather than institutions is being recognised
As an average Indian is very much family more than ever before. However, there
oriented, he usually prefers to keep a link remain differences of opinion as to which
with the family with which he has formed a children beyond infancy profit most from
tie rather than insist on staying separate as either type of care. It will be wrong to take
soon as he stands on his feet.
for granted that if a child has to leave his
own home he can be taken care of best in
There are also instances of foster care of a foster family only.
children in the homes of family friends
Every child needs and has a right to live
when there is some illness or disaster in the and be reared in a family home, with parents
child's home or the child has difficulty in to whom he belongs. The first objective of
getting along with either of the parents.
community social services for the child is,
Another type of foster family care is therefore, to prevent family break down
noticed in the cases of children who are through helping parents to overcome these
R E Q U I R E M E N T S FOR D E V E L O P M E N T O F F O S T E R H O M E PROGRAMMES I N INDIA
4 0 5
social and emotional difficulties t h a t stand in out of recognition of their need for identifica-
the way of normal family living. When tion with parent figures after whom they can
children must be separated from their pattern own behaviour and for experience in
natural families, the efforts of social agencies family living to enable them to live in society.
should be directed toward resolving those In short, while deciding out-of-home place-
problems in course of time which made ment for a child, expert evaluation of the
total needs of the particular child should be
An institution and a foster home should not
be regarded as competitive services but rather
In connection with foster family care it
as being complementary to each other, with may be mentioned that in our country inspite
each having a specialised function. To give of such care being known from time
a few examples it may be mentioned that immemorial and social workers constantly
while family care is preferred for a young feeling the need for suitable foster families
child, institutional care may sometimes be for children, we have not been able to
necessary for children whose behaviour is so develop foster family care programme as a
primitive or whose reaction to placement so regular social service, i.e. a programme
negative or aggressive that they cannot be supervised by social agencies. W h a t are the
tolerated in a family home. This kind of possible reasons for the same? Quite often
behaviour can be more readily and objec-
we hear the remark that Indians are con-
tively accepted and treated by the institu-
servative, not child minded and due to their
tion's professional staff than by foster parents. own large families or caste restrictions they are
An institution also offers a child the not willing to bother about a child not belong-
opportunity of working out his problems at ing to their own family. It sounds con-
his own tempo and spares him the pain of tradictory when we find that there are homes
having to form substitute parental relation-
where outside children have been taken in
ships for which he may have neither the need, (Independent foster homes). No survey has
the desire nor the capacity. T h e n there may been m a d e of such homes and it would
be parents who are unwilling to share their perhaps be wrong to say that all these homes
children with foster parents.
are so poorly qualified as to place the value
of their services in question. It is worthwhile
A child starved for affection will find it in locating these independent homes and
a good foster home more certainly and more evaluating their strengths and weaknesses
adequately than in a good institution. T h e and finding out measures for overcoming the
chances of getting more personal touch and weaknesses and stabilising the strengths.
individualised attention are greater in a
foster home than in an institution. Any group
A reason for a lag in the supply of foster
of three or more brothers and sisters needing homes is the long standing reluctance of
foster care is more apt to be kept together social agencies to compensate foster parents
in a group foster home and thus helped to for their services, the presumption being that
conserve kinship. T h e too common splitting it would tend to commercialise foster care.
of brother-sister groups into different insti-
At the most, agencies want to pay the cost
tutions because the institutions care only for of food for the child but nothing for the
boys or girls does harm to children. A services rendered. Social workers draw salary
neurotic child often is irritated by group life for their services. It may as well apply to
in an institution and needs a foster home. them that by taking salary for their social
It is preferred for infants and young children service they are commercialising it. Unless
D R . ( M I S S ) G . R . B A N E R J E E
4 0 6
we add to the boarding rate a substantial delinquent children who have no homes or
amount as reimbursement for services, thus whose homes are completely broken. Stable
acknowledging the services of the foster relationship with a few members of the wage
parents to be essential to society like that of home, a sense of belongingness to that home,
a teacher or nurse and worthy of economic the feeling that the members of the foster
recognition, we will not be able to make family are interested in his welfare would add
m u c h headway in the foster family place-
to the child's growth.
ment of infants. If the child is older, t h a t is
For grown up children, i.e. adolescents in
of school going age, it is true he does not need of foster care it is not very essential to
require as much attention from the foster find foster parents. Quite often if we are
mother as an infant does. Consequently able to find suitable 'big brothers or big
service charges will be less but we should not sisters' who can take interest in the
forget to include rent in the boarding rate of adolescent boys and girls respectively and
all cases. Failure to make this allowance for can offer them homes they can really have a
rent for the quarters required for the child stabilising influence on them (children).
will be one of the reasons why families will
rent a room out to an adult instead of receiv-
Besides, there are a number of adolescents
ing a child for foster care.
who come from broken homes and even when
they require family care they do not have the
Government also has not given backing to need or desire to form very intense and
the foster family care scheme. In cases of intimate relationships. They do not require
destitution or delinquency when the juvenile intensive love from foster parents. In India
court, after the study of the case, realises usually a child belongs to the family and in
that it would be good to place a particular a family it is important to see whether other
juvenile in a foster family, it gives the child members can also be loving to the child. So
only to that family which may volunteer to long as the child has the security of love of
take him free. Excepting a close relative (if all the family members, it matters little how
he has means to support the child) nobody intensive is the love of the foster father or
would volunteer to take him. Consequently, mother or any particular member of the
the child has to go to an institution where, family. Thus some adolescents can be
however, Government does not mind paying placed in joint families if the various mem-
for the child's maintenance. If this subsidy bers like to give home to children in need of
could be given to a suitable relative the such care and also if they have warm feelings
child in many instances would be able to live for youngsters.
in a family atmosphere which he might be
needing for his growth.
Some people are of the opinion t h a t a
child should not be placed in a home where
For some adolescent boys and girls who are there are other children, for in that case the
orphans or whose family is completely child will have a sense of rejection because
broken the possibility of suitable work homes the parents will not be able to give the same
and wage homes also need to be taken into amount of love to the outside child as they
consideration. Such homes can provide the will be giving to their own. It is true that
child with work opportunities and also give people who have their own children have no
him the facility of schooling. In a poor need to 'possess' the foster child. They have
country like India we need to look for such experience of bringing up children and it
facilities for a number of destitute and stands to reason that this experience will
R E Q U I R E M E N T S FOR D E V E L O P M E N T OF F O S T E R H O M E PROGRAMMES IN INDIA
4 0 7
enable them to give good care to the foster children, otherwise there would be risk of
child. So far as love for the foster child is exploitation of children. At the same time it
concerned, it may be said that nobody, should be remembered that much of foster
perhaps, can love the child of somebody else care programme is carried out today in our
as much as he loves his own. Even parents country on informal level on the basis of
cannot love all their children equally. Yet a friendship and goodwill and our formalities
warm heart has enough to give to an outside or legislation should not dry up this aspect of
child and an adolescent, if he is not neurotic, philanthropy. Besides, legislation cannot
can understand it and appreciate it. More-
interfere in certain personal matters. For
over, an adolescent learns to form, ties with example, if a father trusts his friend and puts
the outside world and does not like to remain his children for foster care in his family on
totally dependent on members of the family. his own, no legislation can bar him from
doing so. In such cases only when instances
For the development of foster family care of cruelty, neglect or exploitation come to the
as a social service we would need agencies in notice that these can be dealt with under
various parts of the country that can give existing Childern's Acts or Indian Penal
case work service in the following areas at Code. T h e question of certifying families as
'fit' for giving foster care would arise in those
where the families are not known to the
(1) Study of tentative foster homes and party seeking foster care and whose names are
selecting some out of them after proper to ,be suggested by social service agencies.
evaluation of (a) the motivation of parents Their work would be supervised by these
for accepting children for foster care, agencies. This would help the public in find-
(b) their understanding of child's upset ing suitable foster families when it is in need
behaviour and anxiety etc., and (c) the of one.
environment of the family—social, cultural,
physical and economic.
In our country there are very few case
work service agencies like the Family Welfare
(2) Helping the foster parents to under-
Agency, Delisle Road, Bombay, which makes
stand a particular child's problem placed
under their care so that they can deal with a study of suitable homes for foster care of
children (including a d o p t i o n ) . Central
Social Welfare Board and State Social
(3) Preparing the child for foster care Welfare Departments need to give impetus
before the placement takes place, recom-
to foster family care programme in each
mending a particular home for a particular state by developing more case work agencies
child, and following up the case to enable the for this type of work and subsidising existing
child and the foster family to adjust to each agencies for developing this programme.
Voluntary case work agencies will not have
funds to reimburse foster parents and they
(4) Helping the family members of the will need the financial backing of the above
child, unless he is a full orphan, to improve departments. Only in very few cases will the
their own home condition so t h a t the child real parents of the child be able to reimburse
will not be away from his own home for long. the foster family fully. A voluntary agency
In order to develop foster family care pro-
carrying out foster care programme may be
gramme as a social service, it is essential that licensed for this work and be open for
foster homes are certified as 'fit' for receiving government inspection and this agency can
D R . ( M I S S ) G . R . B A N E R J E E
4 0 8
certify suitable foster families as 'fit' ones for Besides, short term courses for foster parents
giving foster care.
can be organised in regional languages by
various women's organisations, Balkanji Bari
In order to arouse public interest in foster and other children's organisations which
family care of children much publicity would enlighten would-be foster parents and
should be given to this programme through inculcate a sense of dignity and responsibility
press, radio, films and public lectures. about their work.
N O N - I N S T I T U T I O N A L S E R V I C E S F O R C H I L D R E N
F O S T E R H O M E S — A N E W E X P E R I M E N T
V. S. R A T H N A S A B H A P A T H Y
T h e very title of the subject suggests that a everyone who comes across such a problem,
Home which will substitute one's own home to solve it in some measure, so that one can
for the children who have been denied such have the satisfaction of having done some-
homes by force of circumstances, should be thing in the interest of the individual child
provided to rehabilitate the various types of and in the interest of the public as a whole.
children who come under the category of It is this feeling that is responsible for some
homeless, orphans, destitutes, delinquents, of us workers in Madras to come together
unwanted children and beggars, and that they and undertake this work. I shall refer to
may be given the benefit of love, affection, this Madras Experiment by the Guild of
proper upbringing, the motherly care and the Service (Central) later.
necessary attention and training to fit them
As a worker in the Scout Organisation for
up as a future men and women, worthy many years I am convinced that given the
citizens useful to themselves and to the com-
proper opportunities and facilities and the
munity. This involves naturally a great deal proper environments any child taken out of
of work for them. If possible even from the any condition is bound to be benefited.
time of their birth adequate care must be
bestowed on them.
Since children vary so greatly in personality
and problem we know that Foster Care
We know by experience where such train-
should be geared to meet the needs of the
ing is provided the result is very satisfactory, individual child. At present I do not think at
where it is lacking and children are neglected any rate in the South we have any Agency
they naturally become delinquents and that serves these children by organising the
u l t i m a t e l y a menace to the Society.
supervisory services to help the Child Welfare
When we look round and see many types Workers, on the basis it is done in other
of children in rural parts or in urban parts countries. In other countries perhaps they
we come across these various types of have tried successfully Adoption and Foster
children apart from those who are looked Care for solving the problem of placement of
after well, by their respective parents; those children. We are in the beginning in this
who can afford the necessaries of life.
respect and we do need an all India
It is this pitiable state of affairs that arrests Organisation to serve in this matter.
the attention of social workers and make
T h e word Adoption is not favoured by
them feel that something should be done to people in our country as such because
help these children and help them out of probably of the legal implications and even
this miserable plight they are in. H o w best the very idea is not very much favoured by
this could be done is a matter for considera-
the people, though we tried in Madras to con-
tion. Nevertheless there is a strong urge in tact people to get them to adopt children.
4 1 0
V. S. R A T H N A S A B H A P A T H Y
This matter was considered at a Conference foster parents; suitability of the types of
of representatives of outstanding social work-
children to be adopted by the foster mother
ing agencies in Madras. I may say the feel-
rejecting certain types of foster parents etc.
ing among the Indians was as stated above etc. It is found at any rate when this matter
and the Europeans felt that this scheme was considered by us in Madras there was
would not be popular in India. Another no sufficient support from the part of the
argument advanced was that there was individuals to come forward to support the
sufficient number of agencies already existing idea. Finding that this individual adoption
to take care of these children. Orphanages by foster parents in our country is not
did and do exist but they cater to children encouraging the only alternative left to us
of particular denomination or their specific was to start a home namely the Seva
Samaj am Homes for Boys and Girls and
provide the necessary care and help. This
There are Certified Schools which are now experiment which was started 10 years ago
called Approved Schools that exist, in a has proved a great success. Hence my
limited number for destitute and vagrant reference to it in some detail, in order that
children. These schools house both destitute such an experiment may be tried in other
and delinquent children but then there were places with equal success. The subject also
not many orphanages to receive the destitute covers community services for children in
children who come before the juvenile institutions.
Courts and whose only crime was that they
A Committee called a Destitute Children
are destitutes with no one to care for them Committee was formed in 1950 with people
or to love them. It was for such children and who showed interest in this work. The
children without parents a home was needed. Finance Sub-committee of the Madras Pro-
H o m e finding is a part of child placement. vincial Welfare Fund gave a grant to meet
This means that we have to select a home, the cost of equipment for starting a home for
interview the parents and then on the basis 50 children. Col. Thompson who was the
of their desire to have a child, the child has Advisor to Government of Madras on Child
to be handed over to the Foster Parents. This Psychology was the Chairman of that Com-
involves a great deal of work for case workers. mittee and he did a great deal of propaganda
They have to closely identify themselves with particularly in the colleges and in educational
the foster child and work has to be under-
institutions in the matter of securing financial
taken on that basis. Details covering the help for sponsoring one or more boys either
various general areas of the foster parents' by institutions or by individuals.
life, such as education, religion, finance and
Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy offered to
history and so forth will have to be transfer 10 boys from Avvai Home and
His Highness the M a h a r a j a of Bhavnagar
T h e wish of the parent and the various offered to sponsor two boys, a Hindu and a
aspects of their desire to adopt a child has Muslim which formed the nucleus of 12 boys
to be also gone into in detail. I shall not in the home which was started in May, 1950
go into the methods adopted in other at Adyar under the auspices of Guild of
countries with regard to Incentive of foster Service. It was then realised that we can only
parents; the manner in which the children touch the fringe of the problem but with this
are placed; how the case history is gone into home as a pioneer institution we could give
and the visiting of workers of the homes of a lead to such institutions being started
N O N - I N S T I T U T I O N A L SERVICES FOR C H I L D R E N F O S T E R H O M E S — A N E W E X P E R I M E N T 4 1 1
elsewhere in the country. It was suggested mittees; their hostel committees; their own
that Rs. 3 0 / - a month will cost to maintain Court of Honour and other activities. They
a boy and the aim was for an individual or elect their own Ministers in charge of various
groups to be responsible for the maintenance activities of the homes. This method of Self-
of a particular child for a period of three Government doing things by themselves has
years and to have personal interest in his pro-
a great deal to do with the proper training
gress so that the child may feel that there is of these children a n d will help them in later
some one to care for him and bestow that life. It is our belief that in an atmosphere of
affectionate attention on the child which the freedom alone true growth is possible.
child very sadly lacked. At the very outset we
T h e r e are sections in the home for teach-
did away with caste restrictions on the ing carpentry, weaving, gardening, poultry
children admitted. This was a bold and farming, etc. so that they can be trained in
the craft centred education which may later
on develop into a useful career for the
Lady Nye appealed for assistance from boys. Spinning and weaving was introduced
the President of the Indian Republic and with a grant from the Central Social Welfare
the Prime Minister of India. T h e President Board and 12 looms were provided and the
Dr. Rajendra Prasad himself very
children are making towels and other
graciously agreed to sponsor a boy for a materials. At present we have a strength of
period of four years. T h e President himself 91 boys at the Adyar Home of which 58 are
was so pleased with the spirit and idea courtwards whose maintenance is looked
of the home that he agreed to be the Patron after by the Government of Madras till the
in Chief and visited the Home in 1951. T h e period of detention; 33 are sponsored by the
Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, various people, viz. 17 by the Unitarian
donated Rs. 9 0 0 / - to the home and encourag-
Service Committee of C a n a d a ; 4 by
ed us in our work. In November, 1961 the England; 2 by Australia; 2 by Corso, New
Government of Madras recognised the home Zealand, 1 boy by Her Highness Maharani of
as a fit institution to receive certified Travancore; 2 by the Maharaja of Gwalior;
children or as a Junior Certified School to be 1 by King Leopold of Belgium and 1 boy by
maintained by private agencies for receiving Col. Parker of U.S.A.; 1 boy by American
only destitute children who appear before Ship Greenwich Bay and 2 unsponsored.
the Juvenile Court. These children were
either brought by the social workers or by
T h e Unitarian Service Committee of
the police who find them wandering in the Canada with its energetic Executive Director
streets. Their case is investigated and if they Dr. Hitschmanova has been showing a very
are completely destitutes they are sent keen interest in our experiment. Being
through the Juvenile Court to the Seva satisfied with the manner in which the homes
Samaj Boys' Home, Adyar.
are run the Unitarian Service Committee of
Canada came forward to find foster parents
With the monies raised from the Guild of for a number of children both boys and girls.
Service the school was opened in 1951 by Being encouraged by such a generous offer,
Archbold Nye, named after Lady Nye, who a Girls' Home was started in 1955 in Adyar
has done so much to support our endeavours. which has today a strength of 68 girls of
I shall now refer to the work undertaken which 28 are courtwards and 40 sponsored.
in those homes. T h e boys are given T h e school gives education to these children
freedom to organise their own games com-
upto 5th Standard and on completion of this
4 1 2
V. S. R A T H N A S A B H A P A T H Y
standard the children are transferred to Hostel which was started in June, 1961 is run
Shaligram Boys Home. Some of the grown under the auspices of the Guild of Service
up boys are studying in the high schools at and sponsored by the Unitarian Service
Gandhinagar. O n e of our boys is now study-
Committee of Canada. T h e r e are at present
ing in the Loyola College and he is in the 18 girls. Here the girls are given training in
final B.A. class.
Domestic Science; H o m e Nursing; Launder-
ing; Personal Hygiene; First Aid; Child Care
We have developed these institutions on a etc. They go for field work to hospitals and
progressive basis for the children of different maternity centres for practical work. Besides
age groups. In this home, boys between the this, cooking classes are conducted.
ages of 5 and 12 are admitted and looked
T h e general principle that governs the work
after and they receive their education in of these institutions is to make the inmates
Lady Nye School; on completion of this stage themselves do all the work possible, under the
they are transferred to the home at guidance of and careful supervision of
Shaligram, another home with extensive the Wardens and Superintendents of the
lands and boys who complete 12 years of age respective homes.
are sent here for studies upto I I I Form or
higher secondary stage. T h e land was
T h e administration of these homes is
acquired from the Government of Madras indeed a unique feature of these institutions.
and the required buildings both vocational A Committee is appointed consisting of
training and for craft training as well as members both men and women who have,
hostel accommodation are provided. T h e r e among other qualifications a special aptitude
is scope for rural work in that place. In the for this work. They are carefully chosen and
vocational centre attached to this home, the asked to look after and run the homes. Each
boys are trained in carpentry, weaving, home has its own Committee with a
pottery, tailoring etc. and this centre has Chairman; Vice-Chairman; and one or two
been recognised by Department of Industries Secretaries; a Treasurer; a Medical Officer
and Commerce of the Government of Madras. and meets periodically and takes the
responsibility to see that the home is run
Boys who complete the age of 18 years are properly. The secret of the success of these
transferred to the Hostel at Pallipattu village. committees is, the careful selection of the
These boys are given a separate room each members by the General Secretary
with boarding arrangements. T h e present Mrs. Clubwala Jadhav who seems to know
strength of this hostel is 14, of these 11 boys are
who is good at what and how t h a t goodness
employed in various firms. T h e home helps can be fully exploited for the benefit of the
these boys to secure good and permanent jobs. home without incurring any expenditure on
Those who are thus employed pay for their that account. Much depends upon the staff
mess, etc. These boys earn on an average —the immediate senior leaders such as
Rs. 100/- to Rs. 1 6 0 / - a month and some of Wardens; Matrons; their Assistants; the
the boys have a bank balance of Rs. 1,000/-
Superintendents; H e a d Masters or the
to Rs. 2,000/- saved out of their own Headmistress of the school and the teaching
staff besides clerical staff. T h e successful
T h e grown up girls who have come upto working of these institutions or foster homes
the E. S. L. C. standard are provided with a depends generally on the personnel, who come
hostel and a training institute. This institute into contact with these children daily, every
viz. Seva Samajam Girls' Training Institute & hour of the day. I need not say that this
N O N - I N S T I T U T I O N A L SERVICES FOR C H I L D R E N F O S T E R H O M E S — A N E W E X P E R I M E N T 4 1 3
presents always a difficult problem to the a pioneer in this work and we are glad to say
Committees. We are happy however in this has been copied by the mofusil districts
securing some of the very good workers and working under the Guild of Service. T h e
the measure of success we have been able to question of settling these children in life is
achieve is due to them but I think we need a matter of great concern to the Guild of
a Training Institute for such workers, the Service. Ways and means are thought of to
main qualification being a real innate interest see that these boys and girls are happily
in this work, love for working among children married and with their regular earnings
and to an extent willing to sacrifice their settled in life. I am able to say t h a t this new
time and energy for the proper upbringing experiment has proved a great success. We
of these young wards. I need not say about the adopted methods which are appropriate to
regular diet of these children, their routine suit the situation from time to time. For ,
work from morning till night; their education, instance in one case a boy who was a witness
their health and other requirements. To give to the tragedy of drowning of his parents
a balanced and integrated training requires finding a watering grave, was admitted in our
careful attention throughout. We have a home. He was so upset that he wanted to
Doctor who regularly visits these homes once go the way the parents went. He would get
a week and attends to any emergencies up at night and would want to j u m p into
the well, in order that he may find his parents.
We referred this boy to a Psychiatrist and he
We have visitors both foreign and Indian said he would like to keep him under
who render such help as is possible by them, observation and study the case. He took a
organising activities, helping to write letters month or two and to no effect. But in order
to foster parents or finding finance and to remove from his mind the idea of jumping
people to sponsor these children. In that into the well we gave training in swimming.
respect the homes maintain an International This boy became an expert swimmer and
from t h a t day he gave up the idea of
As has already been mentioned that Foster jumping into the well, and he was thus cured
Parents come from various countries besides of this particular malady. I may mention
India. These Foster Parents, though have similar cases of varied types and how they
their own children, some of them have come were dealt with successfully.
forward to sponsor one or two of our children
And there is a home meant for the mentally
and regard them as their own. Their letters handicapped boys viz. Bala Vihar which is
to these children prove that though distance run under the auspices of the Guild of
separates them they always regard these Service.
children as members of their own family. For
There is another matter which I would like
example one lady, a Foster Mother, from to mention that also is a matter for our
Australia, flew all the way to Madras to see careful consideration. The grown up boys
her sponsored boy and is bestowing so much and girls need careful guidance in the matter
attention that she wants him to become a of their relationship (between the sexes). I
Doctor of Medicine which he will, ultimately do not know if the various educational
under such motherly care by her.
institutions could include in their curriculam
They axe most happy in these homes, and some information in this respect. This is
regard the home as their own and live a very important and highly necessary in order
happy family life. This institution has been that they can avoid the many pitfalls,
V. S. R A T H N A S A B H A P A T H Y
4 1 4
relating to this aspect. Personal example not in any manner feel that each is different
among the workers goes a great way not from the other as they get the same loving
only in this matter but also in all other matters.
care and treatment. This attitude has helped
A healthy clean life led in these institutions us to remove in the minds of children any
will be a sure guarantee for a normal decent feeling of inferiority complex.
life in the future.
In the absence of agencies in our country
to look to the child placement of children in
In our homes we treat all alike and we do non-institutional foster care homes such
not allow the least semblance of distinction to homes run by the Guild of Service seems to
creep in. Excepting that they know their me one of the best ways in which we can
support is from a particular source they do solve this problem to some extent.
C O M M U N I T Y W E L F A R E S E R V I C E F O R C H I L D R E N
M R S . M . M . D E S A I
T a t a Institute of Social Sciences
—India is passing remedial programmes, will take time to
through an era of unprecedented change in have roots in our society, with its
almost every aspect of her life. After background of authoritarian institutions,
centuries of stagnation and inertia, the casteeism and communalism.
people are confronted with too many changes
A comprehensive and carefully phased
in too short a time. A phenomenon in itself community welfare services for the child
fraught with dangers. T h e growing popula-
must be visualised against the above
tion problem, combined with poverty, background. Importance of such services
unemployment and under-employment seem is recognised by all. For, it is universally
to focus the attention of our planners, accepted now, through the Declaration of
primarily on raising the family levels of living.
Rights of Children and its acceptance by the
Naturally the priorities are given to the nations of the world, that the quality of
developmental programmes aiming at increas-
future citizens of the country depends upon
ing the industrial and agricultural output. the opportunity offered to the child of today,
However mere environmental changes, for a normal, healthy and happy life.
better economic conditions, better hous-
ing, greater recreational facilities, improv-
T h e child population is the most vulnerable
ed sanitation, cannot by themselves due to a prolonged period of dependency of
assure changes in the people's attitudes the h u m a n infant on adults for care and
and their ways of life. Reintegration protection. Even the process of mere physical
of the old patterns with the new is care is likely to be influenced by the adults'
absolutely essential to achieve maximum feelings and attitudes towards children.
results out of the environmental changes. Childhood again is the most basic as well as
This can be achieved only through a balanced
difficult period of h u m a n life. T h e
approach in handling of the inner as well foundation for a mature, healthy, responsible
as the outward aspects of h u m a n life. A clear
and contributing adult personality is laid
prospective of the ideals and the realities have
during this period only. Hence, neglect of
to be maintained on the basis of the needs, the child, physical, mental, moral or
conditions and available resources, h u m a n emotional, at any stage of his growth will
and material. T h e task of adopting and eventually result in heavy costs to the society)
adapting a new philosophy of life with its Any investment in the nation's childhood is
emphasis on self-determination and self-
therefore as important if not more, as
help, is not an easy one. Hence the modern
economic investment for increasing the
social work approach emerging from this nation's wealth.
philosophy and stressing the development
While developing comprehensive services
of positive and constructive rather than for the child, careful and objective analysis
4 1 6
M R S . M . M . D E S A I
of the community's fundamental attitude and exploration and adventure, essential to
outlook towards the child is very essential, as develop his initiative and independence at a
the very success or failure of given service will later stage. T h e child is often left to himself.
depend on its clear assessment. For example, Consequently he lacks carefully planned,
it is common observation, though may not supervised and guided experience, in problem
be statistically proved, that the Indian child solving techniques, developed through
does not merely live in the family but "with individual as well as corporate thinking in the
the family". This constant togetherness pro-
family, the school, and community. Hence
vides a sense of security and belonging to the the tendency to be continuously spoon fed
child. Hence it is often found that the Indian combined with blind hero worship is often
child, particularly during the early develop-
mental stage is quite relaxed, spontaneous
These and other negative as well as the
and fun-loving, inspite of the tremendous positive aspects of our family, community and
physical deprivations he goes through in terms national life should be realistically and yet
of lack of adequate food, clothing, shelter, sensitively faced in planning for community
etc. Substitute satisfactions found through welfare services for the child. It is all the
emotional bonds, between the larger kinship more important once the fundamental
and neighbourhood groups often enable an premises, emphasising the home, the school
average Indian child to weather many and the community, as the most h u m a n of
storms. A majority of our socio-religious our institutions, and hence of greatest value
functions have no age bars. In fact if a review to the growing child is fully accepted. In fact
of some of these functions is made, it will the growing urgency of the community
be seen t h a t every age group finds some welfare services, aiming at strengthening and
satisfaction through them, individually as well stabilising the child in his home, school and
as collectively. T h e child from early stage neighbourhood emerges from it. T h e need for
is exposed to a sense of rhythm, colours and these services is also felt for its ultimate
forms which are part and parcel of many of economy through prevention of family
these festivals. These functions do have their breakdown and the consequent reduction of
negatives no doubt, particularly when the the problems of destitution, dependency
outward forms are rigidly adhered to, neglect as well as social and emotional
involving uncalled for expenses. And yet maladjustments of children.
their value to the child is immense. Just think
Areas of operation of Community Welfare
of our Ganapati or Holi festivals. T h e Services for the Child.—The
opportunities they provide to children for nity welfare services" for children, may be
leadership, co-operation, use of creative interpreted in the broadest sense to cover all
imagination and even release of their community services for the child, institutional
aggression in a socially acceptable ways is and non-institutional. However, here, it is
amazing. Seeing a tiny shrine of Ganapati, for to be understood in a narrow sense to cover
example, solemnly built up, with all the only those services, that aim at strengthening
trimmings, by a group of children in a chawl, the child in his own home, and broader
or even in a village is not an uncommon community life, including the school and the
experience for many of us. At the same time neighbourhood.
our traditional family pattern even when
continued in a modified form, may deprive
Importance of Institutional care services,
the child from the guided experience of particularly in an under-developed country
like ours cannot be ignored. In fact, its use
C O M M U N I T Y W E L F A R E SERVICE FOR C H I L D R E N
4 1 7
is on the increase, practically in all un-
given high priorities in all our plans so far.
developed and underdeveloped countries as T h e Family Planning Service is also given
indicated in the U. N. Study on institutional equal attention due to the urgent problem of
Care of Children (1956 IV 6 ) . This is maintaining a balance between population
primarily due to its apparent effectivity in growth and the country's efforts to raise the
handling quickly and economically the mass family levels of living. A brief review of
problems of child destitution, dependency and these services may help us to gain proper
neglect. T h e time factor involved, particularly perspective of their place in our national
in development of other services, due to lack development programmes, for the child in
of trained personnel, and equipment as well the community.
as difficulties in effective supervision combined
—The ultimate objective
with the tendency to tackle the problems as of this programme is to see that "every child
they arise are also partly responsible.
is a wanted child, wanted by his parents,
community and of course the nation".
priorities in terms of the immensity of the Children are truly desired when that desire
problems and their consequent repercussion is accompanied by deep love, and spontaneous
on the quality and quantity of the child acceptance. Development of Family Planning
population, as well as available resources, Service should therefore be accompanied by
h u m a n and material, may be the initial basis services for development of right attitudes
of rendering services to the child. However, towards the child. Mere integration in a
once the concept of body and mind being an physical sense of Maternity and Child health
integrated whole is properly understood and centres with Family Planning Centres is not
accepted, the meaning of the term "basic enough. Catching parents young through
services" will have to be broadened in terms maternity and child health centre is no doubt
of what the child needs, rather than what the essential. For, they are pliable, and could be
Government or the community can or cannot more effectively exposed to the ideal of
provide. This is true even in case of services, planned parenthood. It should be recognised,
such as health and medical care, immuniza-
however, that the process of acceptance of
tion, nutrition, education, environmental change, particularly touching upon the most
sanitation, recreation, etc.
intimate aspects of h u m a n life, such as family
Positive support and cooperation of the planning is not easy. If family planning
adults, responsible for the child's well-being programme is to be really effective in
ranging from parents, teachers, doctors, improving the quality of h u m a n stock, as well
nurses, to even social workers is of utmost as in arresting population growth, what we
value. For example, it's not only the need is not just more centres, but their better
knowledge of what food a child gets, but integration with other services to the child,
how it is given—that is the feeling tone within the family the school and the com-
involved—is more important in building up munity, a n d greater emphasis on the quality
effective nutritional services. No matter of the services rendered at motivational,
where we begin, acceptance of a balanced acceptance and follow-up stages. This is
approach, catering to all round development possible only if there is a common denomina-
of the child in his total environment is tion in use of approach and skills, by the
almost inevitable. Some of the services such workers, at all levels. T h e initial results, in
as maternity and child health, shelter, food terms of numbers may not be encouraging,
and nutrition, education, recreation, etc. are but in the long r u n their effect will be more
M R S . M . M . D E S A I
4 1 8
reliable and lasting.
neighbourhood in preventing educational and
Maternity and Child Health.
—The urgency adjustment difficulties of children in schools
of the problem of maternity and child health but as a special service to a small group
is recognised by all as indicated by the already presenting such difficulties.
priority given to it in all our Plans, through
—Recognition is being given
Social Welfare Board, Community Welfare to development of vocational and educational
Projects, Ministry of Health, etc. T h e guidance, as well as child guidance clinics.
number of centres no doubt are still However, most of these services are still
inadequate to meet the needs of the entire looked upon as luxuries and as such not given
group. Yet it is steadily on the increase. due importance as part of the basic service
Here too the lack of common approach and to the child in a normal surrounding of his
field centred attitude is likely to interfere with
family, school and neighbourhood. Some of
the quality of the services rendered. Family them require highly skilled and mature
Planning and Maternity Centres are like the personnel capable of handling the complex
"Gate Keepers" to the family, and the and delicate aspects of h u m a n relationships.
personnel trained for rendering these services
Family Counselling and Family life educa-
should be of the highest possible calibre, tion.
—Taking family life education and
intellectually, emotionally and physically. family counselling services, it is essential first,
Unfortunately this aspect of planning and to have right type of personnel ready to put
implementation tends to be forgotten due to them through any tests to assess their capacity
our preoccupations with the problems per se
to acquire the art and knowledge of dealing
and their immensity. Family planning and with the delicate problems of sex, marriage
maternity and child health programmes should
and family life. T h e tendency to get
give ample scope to the workers to initiate over enthusiastic in development of these
team approach with all its implications.
services need to be curbed no matter how
School Health Services.
—Great enthusiasm behind we are as compared to other countries
and interest is shown in development of or how badly they are needed. First of all,
school health services by providing mid-day clear assessment of the actual need is of the
meals, regular health check-up, supplementary
greatest importance. Training of right type
diet, etc., through Governmental as well as of personnel who are ready to put them
voluntary efforts. However, the quality of the
through the most exacting tests of self-
services offered suffers in all the above examination and self-evaluation is the next
areas due to, not only inadequacy of staff step. Only then and then such services should
and equipment but also due to lack of be developed. Otherwise, they would do
comprehensive planning, covering all the more h a r m than good to the family and
aspects of school age child. Here too, the ultimately to the child.
emotional and Socio-cultural components of
—Service such as day care is
the child's adjustment in the school is often considered as service to a special group
completely overlooked. Emphasis in our —meaning thereby the services to the children
schools seem to be more in helping children of working mothers. However, if the
pass their examinations rather than on objective and purpose of the day care centres
building up his personality and character. are fully understood, it will be impossible to
Hence service like that of school social worker
set it aside as a special service. It should be
is not understood as a positive service for the an integral part of any comprehensive
teachers, the child, the family and the programme for the child. Also, once the
C O M M U N I T Y W E L F A R E SERVICE FOR C H I L D R E N
4 1 9
concept of interrelatedness of the child's its developmental requirements and innate
growth from one stage to , another is skill in meeting them.
recognised, ante-natal, post-natal as well as
Careful observations and scientific develop-
creche services have to be followed, Day Care ment of the play equipment, the children
service for the pre-school age child to ensure usually build-up on their own both in rural
a right start in all the areas of its growth. Its and urban communities being indigenous
major objectives are to provide continuity of' resources, cannot be set aside any more. Most
physical care, sound habit training, construc-
of such play materials are simple and offer
tive and satisfying socialisation experiences, ample scope for use of creative imagination,
creative outlets and preparation for a more and innate aesthetic sense. E.g. Shaping and
formal and rigorous mental discipline ex-
smoothening pieces of tiles, to make round
pected in schools at a later stage. They can or square pables for playing (kuka) is a
in addition become useful demonstration pastime children can spend hours on.
centres for the families with regard to the Thereby they not only get opportunity for
problems of child care and handling. Day required motor and muscular coordinations,
care centres have been traditionally but the joy of creating their own play
associated with the growth of unplanned and materials. Another interesting example I can
impersonal urban communities with their cite from my personal experience as a child
problems of congestion, lack of play space, in our village was to make all our ornaments
employment of women, etc. However, the out of ripe neem fruits and raw sticks, as
importance of supervised group experience part of our doll play. Stereotyped play
for all children is increasingly recognised, as equipment in day care centres are indicative
indicated by our growing Balvadis. Their of not only the lack of imagination and sensi-
usefulness to rural mothers, in getting leisure tive observations, but dogmatic adherence to
time, to be utilised in gainful subsidiary one or the other schools of thought on part
employment, or participation in social educa-
of the workers.
tion programmes, should be carefully tested.
Family Club or Family Recreation
T h e purpose, methods and materials need Centre.
—Parent's craft or education of adults
careful and objective analysis by educationists, for more enlightened participation in the
social workers as well as leaders in health and
civic life of the community, is usually
medical fields responsible for developing this directed towards one or the other individual
vital service on a comprehensive basis.
of the family. It may be worthwhile experi-
Such centres need not be expensive in menting with the idea of family club,
terms of equipment or personnel. T h e experi-
catering to the needs of even two to three
ment of mother's participation in running generations of family members.
the community day care centres, may be
T h e process of introducing any change
worth trying, particularly where in the may be easy through use of known and easily
service of part-day care centre is offered. acceptable forms of recreating by each and
Such a venture may indicate the felt need of every member in the club. T h e unnecessary
a given community and their readiness to do duplication of administrative machinery may
something about it through real self involve-
thereby be avoided and at the same time
ment. T h e problem of their training need integration of programmes could be easily
not come in the way of such an experiment. achieved, through focusing on family, as a
For, what a child at this stage needs is a unit of offering recreational and cultural
warm accepting person, with broad idea of services to all its members. Such a centre
M R S . M . D E S A I
4 2 0
could foster positive integration of traditional land themselves in a child guidance clinic as
values and aspirations with t h a t of the evolv-
problem cases, where these services are in
ing ones, and thereby create the spirit of existence. This is mainly due to our ignor-
creative family living and family unity. ance of their value to the nation and
These in turn would make the process of inadequacy in providing them challenging
introducing changes in family living patterns experiences at every stage of their growth at
much more smooth and easy.
home, in school and the community. A clear
Services to Special Groups.
understanding of the term "gifted child" by
severe handicaps, mental, emotional and parents, teachers and others, is most essential
physical affect comparatively a small group, to avoid unnecessary frustrations both for the
early detection, care and treatment of minor child and adults.
defects which are likely to be more common,
—Only by making the
should form part of the essential services in family a basic unit for rendering all the
any Community. For, many of our seven services to the child and even to adults can
cases of handicaps could have been easily and we ever hope to achieve the much talked about
effectively remedied through their early "integrated approach" in our welfare pro-
detection and treatment. Here again the grammes. If the communities are to become
emphasis should be more on prevention 'self-generating units' of society, first the
rather than cure.
family has to achieve that self-generating
Detection is possible only through the pro-
force. This is possible only through a clear
cess of compulsory registration of the perspective of the needs, resources, and readi-
handicapped child at every stage of his ness combined with sensitive assessment of
growth. T h e ante-natal, post-natal, day care the negatives as well as positives in our family
and school health as well as social services and community life. Creating and enforcing
could be utilised more effectively for this effectively the minimum standards of a
purpose t h a n done so far. Lack of adequate child care service is a must to maintain the
facilities, trained personnel, equipment, etc. required quality. Careful phasing of the
are the usual difficulties in starting many of services within the broad blue-print of a com-
these services on a mass scale. Inadequate or prehensive scheme is equally essential.
indifferent follow-up often affects their
Services directed towards the total well-
quality. Development of community con-
being of each and every member of the family
sciousness, with regard to handicaps and their in and through the family is a sure way to
effect on the child if neglected, should be the avoid the dangers of over specialisations in
starting point in building up a comprehensive terms of skills or fields. Let us hope that our
programme for the handicapped.
families and through them the children will
Services for Gifted Children.
not be torn by too many specialists. A worker
children though form a very small percentage responsible for development of such a broad
of normal children in every community, their and integrated community welfare services
early detection, and provision of giving them for children should have the necessary
the fullest opportunity to achieve their maturity and aptitude to work with people,
maximum growth potentials, should be given be skilled in use of each and every method
as high a priority as economic development of social work, should have basic minimum
or other essential programmes. For, they are knowledge of all the aspects of the child, the
the future leaders of the communities and family and the community, and should have
the nation. Unfortunately, many of them innate flexibility to fit into any setting.
R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S
(1) This section strongly recommends that
T h e primary health centres staffed
there should be a legislation for adop-
with adequate and properly orientated
tion on All-India basis covering
(regarding the problems of the
children irrespective of caste, creed
handicapped) personnel may take up
and communal affiliation.
(5) T h e gifted child is an asset to the
Provisions for placement of the
nation. Hence a programme offering
child should be made through Govern-
opportunities to the gifted child for
mental and licensed non-Governmental
development of creative leadership at
agencies providing skilled services.
every stage of its growth through co-
T h e adoption should be legalised only
curricular and extra-curricular voca-
through court procedure.
tional and educational counselling etc.
(2) Licensing legislation must be provided
as well as orientation of parents and
for the development of licensing, non-
teachers to the needs of the gifted
Governmental child placing agencies
child be given highest priority.
for adoption a n d foster family care.
(6) Development of services for the child
Such services should be provided by
at ante-natal, post-natal and at the
school level should be given recogni-
tion in all our plans. However, once
(3) T h a t the child needs care in a foster
the concept of inter relatedness of the
family home rather than in an institu-
child growth from conception to adult-
tion is being recognised more than ever
hood is recognised, there must be no
before. This section recommends that
gap in rendering services to the child
juvenile courts encourage foster family
at any level of its growth.
home placement when the need arises
for placing the child away from home.
(7) In the future planning for welfare
Such a family should be subsidised by
services, due importance must be
the State during the period of place-
given to development of child welfare
ment. Such a provision has already
services in view of the importance of
been made in the Children's Acts.
the child to the nation's future.
However, emphasis should be placed
(8) This section recommends t h a t a grow-
on proper implementation of the
ing emphasis should be placed upon
development of an integrated
approach in rendering community
(4) Adequate provisions should be m a d e
services for the child in and through
for medical personnel, health visitors
the family. Personnel with broad-
and social workers to help the family
based training should be employed for
of the handicapped child with regard
development of preventive services for
to the understanding of their needs.