The ChildLine is India’s first 24/7 free emergency phone service for children in need of aid and assistance. The programme was created in 1996 by Ms Jeroo Billimoria, a teacher at the Tata Social Institute in Mumbai. Since then, the project has grown and has become a governmental project under the management of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The Child Line is now present and active in 34 States and 255 towns across India. The Child Line’s mission is to facilitate the identification and care of children in need. Any child or concerned adult can dial 1098 to reach Child Line and report a case. Child Line booths are also available across the city. After receiving a reported case of Children in Conflict with Law (pickpockets, thieves, etc.) or Children in Need of Care and Protection (runaway children, lost children, exploited or abused children, etc.), the Child Line staff will immediately come and pick the child up, provide them with the necessary medical attention and psycho-social counselling, build a solid case file, and refer them to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). This judicial institution will decide whether the child ought to be reunited with family or placed in a Child Care Facility.
Ashalayam has been in charge of the Howrah District’s Child Line since 1999, and has opened a new Child Line programme in Howrah Train Station itself in June 2015. Every year, Ashalayam helps over a thousand children through the Child Line programmes.