Children in need of care & protection: CNCP

Within a larger block of approximately 172m children at risk, India is estimated to have nearly 35m children in need of care and protection. Many of these either have no families, or cannot safely be repatriated to them, and they fall under the protection of the JJ Act. Their adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are often further compounded by the effects of institutionalisation, with long term outcomes noticeably worse than their peers in family based poverty.

Make A Difference has pioneered new research into long term outcomes for these children. Read on to learn more about our findings, and to see real life stories of the children of India.

About CNCP

Children in Need of Care and Protection (CNCP) are typically found in the following situations:

  • In Families ‘At Risk’
  • On the Street
  • In Institutions

CNCP Groupings

The following are some of the Vulnerable Groups that comprise the CNCP:

  1. Street children
  2. Orphaned, abandoned and destitute Children
  3. Working children
  4. Abused children
  5. Children who are victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking
  6. Children engaging in substance abuse
  7. Children in conflict and disaster situations
  8. Children in families ‘at-risk’
  9. Differently-abled children
  10. Mentally ill children
  11. HIV / AIDS-affected / infected children
  12. Juveniles in conflict with the law

Age of Entry to Childcare Institutions

Age of Entry to Childcare Institutions

Drivers of entry to Childcare Institutions

Drivers of entry tp childcare Institutions

Pioneering Research

Supported by DXC Technology, MAD is carrying out the first ever long-term adult outcomes research focusing on adults (Age 30+) who grew up in childcare institution in India. Planned to be carried out over 18 months, the research covers approximately 500 respondents across 5 cities in India.

Since no formal tracking mechanisms were ever instituted across the care system, the real challenge was finding adults who left shelters more than a decade ago, let alone building the trust to get them to open up and share their life journeys.

We hope to publish the final reports in July ‘19, but we’ve been generating and processing the data in batches, which is allowing us to publish new insights as they evolve.

The data on the right is still evolving, but we hope will give you an idea. Meantime watch this space!


10+ years in care

Experience a decade or more of institutionalisation


For every 2 contactable individuals we found 1 non-contactable known to be missing or death.


Drop out without passing their school leaving exams (12th Standard).


of care leavers received Aftercare Support as mandated by the JJ Act.


<14% of respondents have reported achieving 1st class honours at any stage

Financial Aid

Number of reports of financial support provided as per JJ Act

Live in Slums

Of those in urban areas live in Slums

Less than 15K

Earn less than 15k per month, and 27.8% have a family income of less than the same

No formal training

have reported to not have received any kind of formal training ever

in debt

are in debt, with half of those in owing more than 1L

Physical Abuse

34% reported that they had gone through some form of physical hurt/abuse.

Children of India: Life Stories

As part of the broader #nevertoolate campaign, we recorded hundreds of real life stories of children who have grown up in shelters. Their stories are heartbreaking and should be heard to spread awareness of the realities of children in need of care and protection.

My family used to beat me with whatever they got in their hands - even hammer and a mirror. One day they even threw a TV at me. And I thought suicide was a good way out of this.
- Nandini, Age 19

When I was a child, my mother and family got me married. I ran away to a shelter home and from there, went to lodge a police complaint. But they didn’t take my complaint.
- Sapna, Age 19

After I left shelter home, I felt like I was a new born baby and didn’t know what to do. I used to get upset so much that I wished coming under a car and ending my life.
- Manju, Age 19

My sister-in-law asked me to do some work, which I refused. That night, my brother and sister-in-law tried to electrocute me.
- Ranjit, Age 11

I was just 3 years old. I didn’t have any money to buy food. So I started cleaning the train floor with my shirt and people gave me money. This is how I started living on trains.
- Shankar, Age 25

As a child we have done many roadside circus shows.We used to sing in buses and trains to earn money for the household. That is why I left home with my siblings when I was 5 years old.
- Raju, Age 21

After my mother left us because of my father’s beatings, my father decided to leave my brother and me at a railway station.
- Parth, Age 17

My father hated me since childhood. He used to put dry chillies in the fire and make me breathe the fumes.
- Yash, Age 27

Regulatory Landscape

A child is defined in India as any person below the age of 18 years except in case of heinous crimes, where the age group of 16-18 years is also considered an adult. India ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on December 10, 1992. The key Indian ministry for matters related to children is the Ministry of Women and Child Development


The Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, 2000 establishes the principles, systems, processes and related statutory bodies to cater to the basic needs of children through proper care, protection, development, treatment and social reintegration. The main statutory bodies defined under the JJ Act are the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) to manage children in conflict with law, and the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) to manage children in need of care and protection. The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), 2012 establish further safety nets and protection systems.


  • The Guardian and Wards Act, 1890
  • The Child labour Act Act, 1986
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006

SHELTER Landscape

In 2017 we embarked on a detailed study to understand the Childcare Institutions (CCI) landscape in India, with the objective of accurately quantifying the number of children in institutional care and protection across India.

In the absence of compulsory registration of shelter homes, it was unclear how many shelter homes existed in India, or how many children were in them. The number quoted by various agencies ranged anything from 4 million to 172 million children. With registration now mandatory we are finally getting meaningful visibility, but many shelters are still unaware of the change in regulation, and we expect the numbers of known institutions to keep increasing over the next three years.

Our research partner 101reporters filed RTIs, leveraged grassroots networks of reporters and carried out independent verifications to create a definitive list of childcare institutions across India.


As of April 2018, we listed 9283 CCIs functioning across the country with 314,702 children. Of the CCIs, 7889 had been registered and the rest were either under process or disputing registration.

We also realised that many others were unaware of the 2015 JJ Act amendment that requires them to register, and estimate that another 6000 are likely to become known over the next few years. Overall we estimate about 15,000 CCIs operating across India, with somewhere in the region of 1 million children institutionalised.


All adversity is known to be recoverable at any stage, given enough time and resources. At MAD, we are building a pioneering, holistic, age-transitional model that integrates individual care and attention for children from age 10 to 28, until they’ve achieved stable middle class outcomes as adults.

What Action will you take?

It is never to late to make a difference in a child’s life. If you ever see a child in strife, you can reach out to Childline on 1098 or the Police on 100, who will investigate. To make a difference on a larger scale, you can also help us spread awareness, volunteer, donate or join our team to make a difference.

Simplest of all, just be a champion for children! Sign up to join our care collective and help us build a passionate national family for children at risk.