The conflict between theory and practice in caring for children : field narrative of a social worker

Goenka, Shivangi and Modi, Kiran (2020) The conflict between theory and practice in caring for children : field narrative of a social worker. Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 19 (2). ISSN 1478-1840

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Every child is vulnerable just by virtue of being so, but upon entering the juvenile justice system, this vulnerability is aggravated due to a myriad of reasons such as violence, abuse and neglect, amongst others. This is the plight of 5% of the total population of children in India as per government statistics from 2018. With this in mind, where do we stand at protecting these children, giving them the needed care, support, resources and guidance and ensuring their protection and development once they are declared as children in need of the system's care and protection and sent to live in a child care institution? This paper attempts to bring to light, through the experiences of a social worker in India, the present day conditions of the children and the staff in these homes, focusing on the gap between what exists in theory in the law, the increase in the intensity of the trauma that the children experience in a place that is solely built with the purpose of taking care of them, the practical gaps in implementing laws and policies and hopes to provide suggestions to improve these conditions. The author works as a training coordinator with a leading child and youth care organisation based in Delhi and is currently implementing a state level project to support transitions from care and aftercare to care leavers.

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