Union Ministry for Women and Child Development (WCD) has said that all of the 577 children who were orphaned during the second wave of the COVID-19 have been placed in the care of their immediate families and that their needs are being monitored and addressed by the government for their safety.
Yesterday WCD minister Smriti Irani, in a tweet said: “GOI is committed to support and protect every vulnerable child due to loss of both parents to Covid-19. From 1st April 2021 till 2:00 PM today, the State Governments & UTs across the country have reported 577 children whose parents succumbed to Covid-19.” She also replied to a user’s tweet that her ministry has been in continuous engagement with all states, weekly written reports are generated since the Covid outbreak in collaboration with all States along with NCPCR, Childline 1098 and other agencies.
Among rising concerns that many children have been abandoned, a senior official from the ministry has said that “These children are not abandoned and are under the protection of district authorities. Child welfare committees will be monitoring their well-being.”
WCD ministry is also tracking all SOS messages for adoption that are doing the rounds of social media and found those to be fake. In order to watch out for cases of child trafficking of the orphaned in the guise of adoption, the WCD, the Ministry Of Home Affairs and all concerned authorities have been put on high alert.
The government has decided to allocate Rs. 10 lakh per district under the Integrated Child Protection (ICP) Scheme of the WCD ministry for the welfare and rehabilitation of these orphaned children, said a senior official.
In an effort to ensure legal rehabilitation of these orphaned children, the government had earlier published a notice to inform people about the correct and legal procedure to rehabilitate the children who have lost both parents due to COVID-19. The ministry stated that anyone who wants to adopt an orphan child should always approach the Central Adoption Resource Authority (cara.nic.in) for “lawful adoptions”.
Apart from the short term “support and protection” assurance from the government, a concrete plan of action in terms of quick rehabilitation or other needs like education and foster care are yet to be seen.