According to the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), there are 17,914 street children or "children in street situations" in the country.
An age breakdown revealed that the largest group of children living on the streets, 7,522 children, are between the ages of 8 - 13, followed by 3,954 children between the ages of
4 to 7.
According to the data, Maharashtra has the most street children (4,952), followed by Gujarat (1,990), Tamil Nadu (1,703), Delhi (1,653), and Madhya Pradesh (1,653). (1,492). But Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of children living alone on the streets at 270.
According to the Commission, street children are most commonly found in religious buildings, traffic signals, industrial areas, railway stations, bus stations, and tourist attractions.
The root cause of this phenomenon is the migration of families from rural to urban areas in search of a better standard of living.
Children living or working in the streets or public spaces are entitled to the respect, protection and fulfilment of all the rights set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN).
The Recent Initiative- CiSS APP
Definition- The Standard Operating Procedure for Care and Protection of Children in Street Situations 2.0 categorizes any child under ‘Children in Street Situation’ if the child is living on the streets alone, living on the streets during the day, or living on the streets with the family.
The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has launched a “CiSS application” under the Baal Swaraj portal to help in the rehabilitation process of Children in Street Situations(CiSS).
Baal Swaraj is a portal launched by NCPCR for online tracking and digital real-time monitoring mechanism of children in need of care and protection. The portal has two functions- COVID care and CiSS. COVID Care link caters to the children who have lost either or both parents due to COVID-19 or otherwise post March 2020.
It follows six stages framework for the rehabilitation of children.
The first stage is the collection of the child’s details, which is accomplished through the portal.
The second stage is Social Investigating Report (SIR) i.e. investigating the child’s background. This is done under the supervision of the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) by the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) by conversing and counselling the child.
The third stage is formulating an Individual Care Plan (ICP) for the child.
The fourth stage is the order of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) based on the SIR submitted to the CWC.
The fifth stage is allocating the schemes and benefits that the beneficiary can avail of.
In the sixth stage, a checklist is made for the evaluation of the progress i.e. (Follow Ups).
This portal, developed by, NCPCR is a first-of-its-kind initiative in India to help children in street situations. The CiSS application is used for receiving data of children in street situations from all the states and union territories, tracking their rescue and rehabilitation process. The initiative is taken under the direction of the Supreme Court of India.
The program embodies Article 51 (A) of the Constitution of India, as it provides a platform to the public and organizations catering to the welfare of the children to report any child in need of assistance. The platform serves to collect data and report to the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) for them to take necessary action.
It also provides a platform for professionals and organizations to provide any help that they can to children in need. Help can be provided in the form of open shelters, counselling services, medical services, sponsorships, de-addiction services, education services, legal/paralegal services, volunteering, student volunteering, identification of hotspot, identification of CiSS, or any other assistance. The organizations and institutions that can utilize the platform are the Non-Government Organization, Civil Society Organization, higher educational or technical institutions, Foundation, Society, or a Trust.
The issue of children in street situations is extremely complex, and the children who are embroiled in these situations are extremely diverse. It is therefore essential to involve and coordinate all the various players from the rights-protection system, public institutions, private institutions and associations in order to help create the right environment for social improvement, prevention and protection (in the street and when (re)integrating children into families and the community).