A&O's five-step plan for India

Allen & Overy sets out agenda to end institutional care in India and Nepal as pro bono team supports Hope and Homes for Children.

Allen & Overy

A&O say they have so far raised more than GBP500,000 towards a £1 million target. Half of the money will be used to change the lives of 4,400 children in India and Nepal confined to or at risk of being displaced into orphanages.

Policy influence

The rest of the funds will be given to the charity for its wider work to end institutional care around the world. Over the next 18 months, A&O will focus our efforts in five areas. First is forming connections with national legislators around the world, conducting research and building evidence to help Hope and Homes for Children to influence major global events in 2019 and 2020. Two key moments for the charity’s advocacy will be working towards the passing of a 2019 UN General Assembly Resolution around deinstitutionalisation and also the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda in 2020. These events provide the opportunity to influence states’ policy, which could have a huge impact on child protection and deinstitutionalisation around the world. Secondly, developing an app that allows easy access to India’s child protection laws, policies and guidelines. This will assist people who act as “gatekeepers” in India’s administrative system to support children in families and prevent their unnecessary separation. Thirdly, overseas volunteering in orphanages is a key factor in perpetuating the system of institutionalised care of children. The firm will help Hope and Homes for Children stop this cycle by looking into policy, laws and regulation around travel and “voluntourism”, and seeing how emerging best practice from Australia can potentially be replicated in other countries.

Legal analysis

The remaining two steps will see A&O conduct a legal framework analysis of the issues pertinent to the elimination of orphanages, including developments in laws on trafficking and modern slavery, providing input into a high-quality journal for stakeholders seeking to effect legal and policy reform. The final step being a contribution to Hope and Homes for Children’s child protection and care reform conference in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2020. The conference will bring together policy and decision makers to learn about family strengthening and alternative care, as well as hear from young people who have experienced institutional care. The goal is to catalyse political will for care reform in Nepal and South and South East Asia.

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