Kavals intersectoral approach has helped bring down the rate of recidivism among children in conflict with law from 12.41% to 3.75%.
From the police and Juvenile Justice Board to child welfare committee, district child protection officers, legal-cum-probation officers, counsellors, school authorities, representatives of local bodies and political parties, family members, Kudumbashree everyone is involved to provide support to the child. This approach ensures that children in conflict with law become rehabilitated in society as productive citizens. A robust monitoring mechanism helps in proper review and analysis.
With the family
In case after case, the Kaval team found that working with the children alone was not enough. They had to work on the family to sort out significant issues and get the parents to support the children as they tried to get their life back in order.
In the case of Giri, who was accused of stealing computers, case workers had to work with his family to let them achieve some semblance of normalcy and make them aware of the case procedures. When he was roughed up by antisocial elements known to his father, political pressure was exerted to leave the family alone.
Family issues were a major cause for concern in the case of Subhash who came to the Kaval team in Thrissur after he broke into a temple. His father and brother had a history of crime and substance abuse. His father would get drunk and harass him. His mother had health issues and symptoms of depression. The brother too had behavioural problems. There was little communication between family members.
The Kaval team began working with the family, especially his father who had health issues owing to alcoholism. His mother was encouraged to take up a job abroad.
In Kannur, Sachin had been arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. His mother was very passive, and father, authoritative. They did not get along well, and Sachin would not even address him as father. He also bore a grudge against his father for beating him up in front of his friends and for the suicide of one of those friends.
In both the cases, regular home visits were made to orient the parents to the childrens problems.
In an instance in Palakkad district where two students belonging to rival parties were in conflict with each other, interventions extended to getting their siblings back to school after they had to discontinue studies. Then came efforts to reconcile the rival boys. Youth wings of both the parties were called for the talks. The police acted swiftly to check antisocial activities at a quarry where the teenagers met. Parents were counselled and steps to enhance family communication were taken. Today, both are supporting their families financially, while planning for their own future.
Sreenesh S. Anil, programme officer, Kaval, says the case workers go the extra mile in each case. He recalls a case where he would visit a boy, who had a prolonged substance abuse problem, before he awoke and be there when he retired for the night, just to help build trust.
A Kaval official says the case workers continued their follow-ups even when funding for the project was affected recently. Some took on extra work, while others paid from their pockets to make house visits and pay travel fare for indigent children to attend counselling.