About Transform Neev Collective

Transform, a global philanthropic initiative of UBS Optimus Foundation aims to support some of the world’s most vulnerable children to grow up in families and family-based care, where they can access quality health and education, and reach their full potential, supported by a loving family and community.

Convening around aligned activities and shared outcomes, the program will work with and catalyze government and non-governmental child care organizations to work on a family-based care model for vulnerable children, all the time testing and learning, before replicating and scaling towards systemic change.

In India, NEEV Collective aims to build on the existing learnings and practices in the sector to spearhead the movement to prevent separation from family and subsequent institutionalization of children. The Collective will spearhead the movement to shift care reform priorities to prevent separation from family and subsequent institutionalization of children. It will address systems that can help families and communities care for their children and also those that can help prevent and protect children from harm. While doing this, the Collective will involve families, communities, and larger stakeholders, deeply and at every step of the way.

Vision

Every child and youth in India is protected and thriving in safe and nurturing families and communities.

Mission

Transform aims to reform childcare systems in India by promoting a prevention-based approach and providing access to quality family-based alternative care when it is in the best interest of the child.

intended impact

By 2024, Transform will collaboratively develop a preventive and family-based alternative care model of child care in Maharashtra to enable some of the most marginalized children to remain and thrive in families.

Guiding Principles

How can we shift care priorities of child care systems and stakeholders across the continuum of care to prevent unnecessary separation of children from families and subsequent institutionalization?

In order to successfully address this question and achieve our vision and intended impact, the Collective’s strategy will be informed by the following guiding principles.

1 Best Interest of the Child

All strategic decisions of the Collective will take into consideration “The Best Interest of the Child” as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the core of the NEEV Collective. When the child care and protection system is analyzed using this lens, it brings forth the following:

  • Measures should be primarily used to support parents to enable children to grow up in their own families
  • If the child cannot be looked after by their own family, then family-based solutions are better than institutional solutions
  • Permanent solutions are better than temporary solutions

2 Systems Change Approach

  • Invest in solutions that address the root causes of the problem rather than the symptoms
  • Curate solutions that fundamentally alter larger structures causing breakdowns in the current child protection systems

3 Non-linear & Adaptive Solutions

  • Solutions that have the ability to create non-linear scale (technology, data, research, evidence building) by adding to the ecosystem rather than replicating existing solutions
  • Solutions that can be adapted depending upon the context of the community and family, particularly in a post COVID context

4 Sustainable Solutions

  • This approach involves working closely with all stakeholders including government, communities, and families to identify solutions within the existing resources so they can be adopted within the system

Geographical Focus

The NEEV Collective believes that the Maharashtra ecosystem is primed to support the core objective of the Collective because of the impact of the pandemic on vulnerable families, and the presence of a state government eager to move towards family care and seeking support to do so.

  • In India, Maharashtra has been among the leading states promoting non-institutional care, and pioneered state guidelines on foster care in the country.
  • Maharashtra was among the 9 states recognized and awarded by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, for effective implementation of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.
  • A spate of trainings, judicial interventions, multi-stakeholder State and National Round Table Consultations, increased commitment of state officials, and social audits has resulted in efforts towards purposeful implementation of the legal frameworks governing child protection.
  • The state government supports innovative models and is currently piloting a foster care scheme in 5 districts, under which citizens can parent children from state-run child care institutions for a limited period of one to three years.
  • There is greater acceptance for family-based care by government and other stakeholders in the state, owing to the trend of reversal of institutionalization in COVID-19 times.

Hence, the Collective would like to develop a holistic and replicable model in the state of Maharashtra.

Replicable State Model

Programmatic and Ecosystem Strategic Priorities

Programmatic Priorities

Ecosystem Strategic Priorities

For children to remain and thrive in families, there is a need to redefine the child care ecosystem by putting equal emphasis on strengthening families and communities, reforming the existing system of child protection, and creating an enabling ecosystem.

The Transform NEEV Collective will invest in a replicable model in Maharashtra at the state level which has the potential to be scaled nationally and globally. Under each of the following prioritized initiatives, the Collective will invest in catalytic areas that can help families and the child protection system build a safe nurturing environment.

Programmatic Priorities

1 Empowering Families

To ensure that every child is able to realize their right to family, we need to adopt and invest in a preventive system of child protection. Generating evidence that this works to keep children safer and prevent harm will be a significant value-add to direct resources towards this space. Emphasis on mental health and positive parenting is an actively emerging area of intervention and a key sector whitespace which the Collective aims to tap into.

2 Strengthening existing community-based safety nets

While several organizations work towards improved child protection policies and schemes, there is a need to promote and embed a child-centric lens across cross-sector policies (such as education, health, urban planning, disaster management, etc.) to give the child the full spectrum of protective services. Literature, data, and efforts in the child protection space today are typically related to after the child has been harmed. There is emerging understanding of ‘pre-harm’ indicators and the Collective aims to build on this to identify families in distress to prevent harm.

3 Equipping nodal points within the child protection system

While several organizations work towards improved child protection policies and schemes, there is a need to promote and embed a child-centric lens across cross-sector policies (such as education, health, urban planning, disaster management, etc.) to give the child the full spectrum of protective services. Literature, data, and efforts in the child protection space today are typically related to after the child has been harmed. There is emerging understanding of ‘pre-harm’ indicators and the Collective aims to build on this to identify families in distress to prevent harm.

4 Establishing local model of family-based care

Despite adopting policy measures that mandate institutionalization to be used as the last resort, lack of family-based alternative care forces the child protection system to institutionalize children. While there have been significant pilot initiatives there is a need for contextualization and development of local learning-based solutions. State government’s priorities and pilot are added incentives to invest and have the potential to create a ‘good practice’ model that would require significant government advocacy for wider acceptance.

4 Ecosystem Strategic Priorities

Spotlight and create greater awareness

Spotlight good practices, evidence, and progress to drive urgent action towards family-based care

Curate lessons and learnings to accelerate care reform

Promote exchange of learning and good practices within key stakeholders in the child protection sector

Influence philanthropic capital towards prevention and family-based care

Champion the need to drive philanthropic funding and attention to preventive strategies and family-based care

The Collective aspires to emerge as an important stakeholder in the child protection space, participating and leading the important sectoral conversations. It will engage in building the ecosystem to enable cross learning, participate in activities that spotlight prevention and family-based care, and engage in robust documentation and evidence generation. Through these efforts, the Collective aims to make a holistic impact in this sector and ensure sustainability of the learnings beyond the program period.

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