WD&CW Dept. assures to take care of them
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has left 154 children orphaned across the State, officials of the Women Development and Child Welfare (WD&CW) Department said.
The officials are now engaged in collecting the details of the children who have lost both their parents to the dreaded virus in all the districts.
Representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the villagers have been requested to help the WD&CW personnel in identifying and passing on information about the orphaned children and provide them protection, the child development and protection officers said.
“We gathered information through Anganwadi teachers, NGOs and villagers. According to our information, 154 minor children have lost both their parents to COVID-19 in the State,” said WD&CW Director Kritika Shukla.
Till date, the number of orphans identified in each district are 24 in Anantapur district, 18 in West Godavari, 16 in Visakhapatnam, 14 in Guntur and 12 each in Nellore and East Godavari districts. Ten children each in Kadapa, Krishna, Prakasam and Kurnool districts were orphaned due to COVID, the Director said.
“It is very sad that the children were deprived of their parents’ love. Following the directions of the Supreme Court and the Centre, ₹10 lakh has been fixed (as ex gratia) for all eligible orphans in the State. The WD&CW Department will take care of the children,” Ms. Kritika said.
The local Anganwadi teacher or worker and Women Protection Secretary will identify the orphans, which should be authorised by the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) concerned of the WD&CW Department.
The local Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO) and the CDPO should monitor the child in availing monthly interest of the fixed amount and the beneficiary is entitled to take the money after attaining 25 years of age, the Director said.
“In many cases, the children have lost both their parents within days of each other. After conducting the social and home study report, the children will be admitted to Child Care Institutions (CCIs) and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayams (KGBVs), if no guardian is willing to take care of the children,” said Krishna District Child Protection Officer Ch. Vijay Kumar.
“Instructions have been given to the WD&CW Project Directors, CDPOs, Anganwadi supervisers, teachers and Women Protection Secretaries to send the particulars of orphans and semi-orphan children (whose parents died due to COVID) at the village-level in each district every day,” the WD&CW Director told The Hindu on Tuesday.
“We will monitor the care and protection of children, even if the child is being taken care by his/her family members (guardians). The government is taking all steps to provide quality education and take care of their future,” Ms. Kritika said.
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