The overall physical and mental status of a person depends a good deal on his or her upbringing. Apart from parental care and protection, every government is bound to provide appropriate supportive services to mothers, starting from the time of pregnancy. Apart from a sectoral approach, there have to be social and community-based intervention programmes of an integrated nature, and the ICDS is one such. The State Plan of Action for the Child (SPAC) covers all children and adolescents in different circumstances and involves all agencies and departments.
Kerala has been a role model in many respects and there is a huge difference when its figures on developmental indicators such as infant mortality, maternal mortality, population growth, birth registration, literacy and malnourished children are compared with the all-India average. But there are still areas that require attention. Malnutrition in the form of low birth weight, underweight, wasting, stunting, anemia and micronutrient deficiencies are widespread among women and children. In the case of older children, the issues are dropping out of schools, child abuse, adolescent problems, HIV infection, child labour, child trafficking, street children and children with disabilities.
Drawing up a strategy to cover all these issues involves all agencies, line departments and stakeholders working for the cause of children in the State. The main sectors covered under the SPAC are child health, mental health, health care services, nutrition, pre-school education and high school education, physical environment, disabilities, adolescents, children in need of special care, juvenile justice and prevention of HIV infection.