WCD issues guidelines to states to protect & handle children orphaned by Covid-19
The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has issued guidelines to states on how to handle and protect children who have been orphaned by the Covid-19 pandemic. WCD Secretary Ram Manohar Mishra mentioned in a letter to Chief Secretaries of all states on Thursday safeguard measures that will ensure children who have lost both parents to the pandemic are not exploited or abused financially. This includes a clause that would prevent sale of child’s ancestral property. Guidelines also will ensure financial support to child through grants announced by states, as well as through the “PM CARES Fund”, and that they are not adjusted “against pending debts or other liabilities of the parents, but to be strictly used only for the child’s education, expenditure, and welfare”.
Furthermore, in order to ensure that child’s ancestral property is not sold off, the concerned District Magistrate (DM) is to maintain “proper oversight” of records that are maintained by the Revenue or/ and Registration Department.
Mr. Mishra further said that care and welfare of these children is to be maintained as per the mandate under Juvenile Act, 2015. WCD said that to ensure the protection of the children, it is important to follow careful resource mapping with planning to “foster access to resources needed for their individual needs”.
“All concerned government departments and other stakeholders at all levels must be activated to guarantee convergent efforts in the best interest of the child in distress. It may be ensured that none of the vulnerable children slip through the safety net,” Mishra said in his letter.
The children orphaned by pandemic are to be identified through outreach programs, surveys, and database with child profile and their specific requirement is to be created. The database is to be kept secure and confidential, as marked under the JJ Act. This data is then has to be uploaded on Track Child Portal of the Government of India.