PUSKAPA: achieving more for child protection

Posted Under Child Protection PUSKAPA

Welcoming the new year of 2017, we would like to announce our new name. It used to stand for “Pusat Kajian Perlindungan Anak”, or “Center on Child Protection”. Now, PUSKAPA stands for “Pusat Kajian dan Advokasi Perlindungan dan Kualitas Hidup Anak”. It literally translates to "Center of Knowledge and Advocacy for Children's Protection and Wellbeing" although we choose to use the shorter version of our English name and that is “Center on Child Protection and Wellbeing”.

Adding “Advokasi”/”Advocacy” into our name enables people to see that our research directly contributes to our policy and program work -that it’s never “just” a research, and it’s never an advocacy without evidence. Adding “Kualitas Hidup”/“Wellbeing” highlights our work to understand the ways in which individual, family, societal, and systems factors contribute to children’s ultimate ability to access inclusive health, education, protection, and care.

When PUSKAPA’s co-founders first thought about establishing the institution, we shared three common ideas. First, was that child protection as a sector had been constrained by its own conceptual definition. People see child protection as “only” dealing with violence against children, and violence does affect children negatively, but there are other issues that are more critical, like health, education, and poverty reduction. Second was the lack of scientific evidence and strong economic as well as political argument for child protection. Despite people’s agreement that children should never experience violence, the magnitude of the problem was unknown, and therefore considered miniscule. Third, and probably the most fundamental, we wanted to do child protection differently.

And doing child protection differently we did.

Our commitment to do child protection differently is reflected in our interdisciplinary approach in research and knowledge building, in advocating for durable solutions in policies and programs that are based in science and evidence, and in building and sustaining human capacities.

We believe that only through an interdisciplinary lens can such a complex issue as child protection, where health, education, access to justice, economic opportunities, and social care are intertwined, be addressed effectively. Only through an interdisciplinary lens can a systemic problem like child protection, which affects not only individuals, but families and communities as well, be resolved in a comprehensive manner.

Our way of doing things was inspired by a historical reflection. The day when child rights were recognized through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) in 1989 was a turning point in history. Child protection is no longer just feeding, housing, and providing education for children. Children were no longer considered charity cases, they were recognized as people whose rights need to be fulfilled. Since then, child-focused professions have been established in many disciplines, including in health and medicine, social work, law, and psychology. This establishment had shaped the child protection field to be multidisciplinary in nature, and to connect rights to health, education, and care comprehensively in the development and humanitarian worlds alike.

Seven years into our existence, we have managed to contribute to research, policy advocacy, and capacity building in ways that no longer just focus exclusively on keeping children from harm, but also on improving children’s healthy development and opportunities to thrive throughout their life cycles. The multiple interpretations on child protection and the multi-dimensional problems affecting their wellbeing in Indonesia have fueled PUSKAPA to keep strengthening the way child protection as a sector contributes to the understanding of how social exclusion due to age, identity, or ability, and insufficient access to critical resources as well as quality basic services impact not only children's safety, physical, and cognitive growth, but also their long-term ability to contribute to society.

And we want our identity to represent this kind of child protection.

Going forward, PUSKAPA remains committed to be the voice of clarity, to be the home of evidence-based dialogues and critical thinking, and to help policymakers improve children’s access to health, education, justice, and social care in Indonesia.

Warm wishes and happy new year,

PUSKAPA’s Co-Directors