Reaching out to children in distress

CHILDLINE, a national 24-hour toll free tele-helpline service, implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for the care and protection of children in distress.


Started in 1996 by the Department of Family and Child Welfare and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, CHILDLINE enables any concerned individual to call up on a toll free number 1098 to report cases where children need immediate need, seek information and counselling. Following the success of the field project, the programme was leveraged by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJ & E) as a national service for child protection. CHILDLINE India Foundation (CIF) is the nodal agency responsible for the implementation of the service.

CHILDLINE represents a unique partnership model wherein all the relevant actors for protection of children- the government, civil society organisations, academic institutions, corporate sector, and the children themselves- have found a common platform for interaction and collaboration. It is unprecedented in its focus on direct intervention on field to rescue children, extension of the service for long term rehabilitation of children, provision of trainings for children to ensure that they do not drop out of the system, in addition to counselling and provision of information over the telephone.

As of March 2011, this national child protection service is in operation in 30 States and Union Territories, 172 cities, through its 415 partner organisations, and receives 2.5 million calls per year across India. It has received a total of 21 million calls since its inception.

This case study was published in October 2011.

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