CHILDLINE is India’s first 24-hour, free, emergency phone service for children in need of aid and assistance. Whether you are a concerned adult or a child, you can dial 1098, the toll free number to access our services. We not only respond to the emergency needs of children, but also link them to services for their long-term care and rehabilitation.
CHILDLINE in each city operates through a structured network of street and community youth, non-profit organisations, institutions, and concerned individuals.
Each call centre has a team of trained youth who man the telephone lines 24 hours a day. Within 60 minutes (at most) of receiving a call the team rushes to the child and attends to the crisis at hand. It may involve going to a police station, the Juvenile Welfare Board or a hospital. There is a regular follow up till the child tides through the crisis, after which options for long term rehabilitation are presented to the child.
Ms Jeroo Billimoria always found time to interact with children staying on railway stations or Mumbai’s night shelters. Children started calling her in crisis at her residence at any point of day and night.
The seeds of CHILDLINE were sown by the urgency of such calls and the fact that all of these were late in the night; after all other voluntary services were closed for the day. Each time, Jeroo had to rush out to take these children to hospitals, police stations, shelters, anywhere to get help.
The need of the hour was a day-night emergency service that these children could call at any time for help. The service had to be widespread and round the clock, keeping in mind that the street children are a mobile unit and that help might be needed at any time of the day.
A telephone outreach service, backed by an extensive, round-the-clock network of support and crisis intervention was an appropriate solution.The rationale behind setting up a service of this kind was:
– Lack of immediate assistance when needed and no access to services
– Lack of awareness about available resources
– Lack of coordinated effort between Government and voluntary organizations
– Lack of children’s participation in programmes
– Child protection not on the national agenda
1098 is a four digit telephone number allocated exclusively to CHILDLINE India Foundation, by the department of Tele communication, Ministry of Communication & IT, in order to set up a nation wide toll free helpline for children in distress. The CHILDLINE service is developed and implemented across the country by CIF. All organisations Partnering CIF to implement the service are funded by CIF for the CHILDLINE service.
Globally no other non-profit children’s helpline provides outreach services. CHILDLINE goes beyond counselling over the phone by using the telephone as a medium to link children in need of services that exist for their rehabilitation.
We work for the protection of the rights of all children in general. But our special focus is on all children in need of care and protection, especially the more vulnerable sections, which include:
– Street children and youth living alone on the streets
– Child labourers working in the unorganised and organized sectors
– Domestic help, especially girl domestics
– Children affected by physical / sexual / emotional abuse in family, schools or institutions.
– Children who need emotional support and guidance
– Children of commercial sex workers
– Child victims of the flesh trade
– Victims of child trafficking
– Children abandoned by parents or guardians
– Missing children
– Run away children
– Children who are victims of substance abuse
– Differently-abled children
– Children in conflict with the law
– Children in institutions
– Mentally challenged children
– HIV/ AIDS infected children
– Children affected by conflict and disaster
– Child political refugees
– Children whose families are in crises
7. Who does CHILDLINE help?
CHILDLINE reaches out to children from 0-18 years and in extreme emergencies to young adults up to the age of 25.8. How does CHILDLINE reach the child in need & what happens to the child thereafter ?
After a child/concerned adult dials 1098, a CHILDLINE member who depending on the nature of the call, provides appropriate assistance.
It may vary from counselling over the phone for emotional support and guidance, information and referral to services for the caller, to information about CHILDLINE.
In the case of an emergency it may require reaching out to the child immediately. A CHILDLINE team then rushes to the child within 60minutes of the call and appropriate help is provided. This may range from taking the child to a shelter/hospital, protection from abuse, repatriation to intensive counselling etc.
After the emergency needs of the child have been addressed, CHILDLINE explores options with the child to study, learn a trade, go back home etc. Based on the decision of the child, CHILDLINE links the child to an appropriate organisation in the city.9. Do children really call ?
CHILDLINE has responded to over 36 million (as of 2015) calls nationally. Help is just a phone call away for a number of children who would never know whom or where to ask for help. In the first year we received 6000 calls in Mumbai and it is today over 4.5 million calls per year from 366 cities. Over 60% of all calls are from children the – rest being from concerned adults.
10. What do children call CHILDLINE for ?
There are a number of reasons for which children turn to CHILDLINE.
Children call when they are ill, have met with accidents, when they are lost, being abused, in need of shelter, have run away and want to return to their families, in need of counselling and guidance, for CHILDLINE to perform the last rites when no family claims remains of deceased children.11. CHILDLINE is never seen on TV, so do children really know about the service ?
CHILDLINE’s first mandate and priority is to ensure on the ground communication in all areas of a city where children live in extremely vulnerable situation. Often they do not have access to the media. Hence to make them confident that CHILDLINE will be there for them, the thrust of CHILDLINE outreach programmes is through direct word of mouth methods.
It involves meetings with children at street corners, market places, parks, railway stations. Bus stands etc., sharing the concept of CHILDLINE with them, teaching them how to dial 1098, speak on the phone, etc.
Periodical evaluation of the service and the needs of the children also take place at CHILDLINE meets, there are Bal Adalats at these meetings. At CHILDLINE the largest number of volunteers are youth who have been in vulnerable situations as children. Their ownership to the service is very high, they feel that CHILDLINE belongs to them and assume that to call CHILDLINE when any of them are in trouble is their responsibility.12. What kind of cases are reported at CHILDLINE ?
There are two types of cases which are reported – Direct Intervention & Non-Intervention. The Direct Intervention calls are when a child requires medical attention, shelter, repatriation, rescue from abuse, death related, report a missing child, emotional support & guidance, Information/ Referral to Services etc. The Non-Intervention calls are primarily for awareness building or due to technical connectivity problems.
Over 65% of all calls require direct intervention.13. How many cities is CHILDLINE currently operating in ?
CHILDLINE is currently functional in 366 cities / 34 states/UTs across the country. We aim to be in all 600 plus districts in the country over the next 10 years.14. How do I call CHILDLINE ?
1098 is today India’s only number that can be dialed from every district of India and from any telecom service provider, 24×7.. You can call 1098 toll free from any phone service (including mobile phones in India.15. When should I call ?
CHILDLINE is a 24-hour helpline, hence if you see a child in need of care & protection you can call up at any hour of the day!16. How can I help ?
There are various ways in which one can support CHILDLINE.
- Call 1098 when to see any child in distress
- Tell every vulnerable child you see, about CHILDLINE 1098
- Make a donation to CHILDLINE India Foundation so we can reach more children in more cities.
- Volunteer with us
17. What are the tax benefits/exemptions a donor is entitled to ?
A donor is entitled to a 100% tax exemption Under Sec 35 AC for a donation exceeding Rs 5000/- and a 50% tax exemption Under Sec 80G for amounts below Rs 5000/-
18. What is CIF ?
CHILDLINE India Foundation is a registered Non-Profit, NGO founded to set up a helpline service for children in distress. In 1998, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, appointed CHILDLINE India Foundation (CIF) as the nodal agency for initiating and sustaining CHILDLINE 1098 across the nation. As of 2006 CHILDLINE project is supported by the Ministry for Women & Child Development.
CIF undertakes replication of CHILDLINE, networking and facilitation, training, research and documentation, and awareness and advocacy both at the national and international level.
19. Does CHILDLINE have its own hospitals/shelters ?
CHILDLINE does not believe in duplication of services but the integration of services that already exist. We network with various NGO’s across the country and act as a link between a child in need and the services available. We also provide assistance in improving the quality of services available and advocate for initiation of services where it doesn’t exist.
20. How does CHILDLINE work with the Government ?
With 43% of India’s population below 18 no single organisation can hope to reach every child in distress without the support of the Government. Indeed in the welfare of India’s citizens is the primary responsibility of the Government of India. The Governments role covers drafting and implementing legislation, framing policies, developing programs for marginalised children, preparing the operational plan and roll-out the plans through Central and State Governments, provide budgetary support and finally to build partnerships with civil society organisations such as CHILDLINE. Therefore CHILDLINE builds linkages with the Government at all levels to ensure effective reach of services. CHILDLINE also advocates with the Government for appropriate legislation and policy frameworks. In addition CHILDLINE make recommendations to the Planning Commission to ensure adequate support for programs aimed at child protection.
21. Is 1098 linked to the Police or Ambulance services ?
Not directly. The Police, Fire and Ambulance are given mandatory status with three digit help lines (100/101/102). These have to be provided by all tele-com service providers and link up to the local Police/ Fire/ Ambulance units. However CHILDLINE works very closely with the Police, Judiciary, Health Care Department, Municipality, Education Department, Administration and the Media. We call these the Allied systems. CHILDLINE has set up Children’s Advisory Boards (CAB) in each CHILDLINE city to which all Allied System Organisations depute representatives. In addition CHILDLINE conducts sensitization programs amongst Allied System Organisations to build capacities in dealing with marginalized children.