The Child Rights Unit began its initiative on Alternative Care in 1996 with a survey of existing institutions in the country, and by building an interactive relationship with children in some of the private or publicly managed institutions in Lahore. The outcome of these consultations was the production of Minimum Standards for the Care and Treatment of Children without Family Support. This instrument addresses State agencies responsible for this area of child rights, as well as NGOs carrying out this activity and includes a list of recommendations for the improvement of alternative care facilities. A direct outcome of this initiative was the promulgation of laws in two of the provinces that incorporate the standards in the regulatory and oversight provisions of this law.
The CRU has been running a campaign for the promotion on the Minimum Standards since 2008 by producing advocacy material for dissemination (posters, leaflets etc.) and meeting legislators and informing them about the campaign on the subject and involving them in advocacy for improved laws, policies and accountability mechanisms. CRU also regularly conducts activities with children from different institutions all over Pakistan to break their isolation and facilitate and encourage their interaction with the children from the community at large.
The Child Rights Unit also reviewed the law on custody and guardianship of children to make recommendations for amendments/additions that could create better protection for children in these circumstances. Both the instrument on Minimum Standards and the draft law with amendments have become tools for advocacy, in which some results have been achieved.