143 children orphaned by COVID

Survey conducted on directions of SC; many children also left with a single parent

COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed a large number of people in their productive age, especially during its second wave, has also left many children without parental protection. Several instances have come to light where the virus has claimed both the parents, leaving the children anchor-less.

A great number of children have also been left with a single parent.

A recent survey conducted by the Women Development and Child Welfare department has identified a total of 143 children who have been orphaned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 30 children lost both parents to the pandemic, while the remaining lost the single parent they had been left with after death of another. Details about children left with single parent are being collected.

The survey, conducted on the directions of the Supreme Court, had gathered information from the ground through Anganwadi teachers in every habitation. Besides, information also came in from District Child Protection Units where the orphan children were brought, and from the help desk set up for the purpose.

“Data was also gathered from media reports. Still, we are not sure this is the absolute figure, as children from middle, upper middle classes and the rich may have escaped our survey,” an official informed.

The affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court has also delineated all the measures being taken to ensure protection of the children.

“Most of the children have been taken in by their close relatives. Institutionalising of the children should be the last measure, hence we are only looking for ways to ensure protection for the children in terms of health, education and general well-being,” the official said.

The department is ensuring implementation of an earlier order wherein 3% reservation is provided for orphan children in all elite government residential schools. Efforts are on to secure their enrolment without entrance examination, and a meeting had been conducted in January with all the departments concerned towards this end.

A prestigious group of Christian educational institutions has come forward to provide free education to all the children orphaned by COVID-19 within GHMC limits, sources informed.

Instructions have been issued to facilitate admission of girl children into Durgabai Deshmmukh Women’s Technical and Training Institute for polytechnic engineering courses.

The health insurance coverage already available for orphan children under Aarogyasri will be extended to these children too.

A letter has been addressed by the Commissioner, Women Development & Child Welfare to the State Legal Services Authority for providing legal support to the children towards ensuring property rights.

As an immediate measure, groceries with nutritious food items are being provided for the children for two months.

Besides, a sponsorship of Rs. 2,000 per month is being given for each orphan under guardian care, under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme.

All the children above 10 years of age are being given mobile phones with basic features with the contacts of Child Welfare Officers, DCPOs and Dial 100 preloaded, so that they could contact the officials in case of any abuse.

Crime Today News | Hyderabad



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