“Children are like buds in a garden & should be carefully & lovingly nurtured. They are the future of a nation and the citizens of tomorrow.” – Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru
The Covid-19 pandemic, however, has brought with it a series of inexplicable events, especially for children! Thus, the Ministry of Women & Child Development has asked the States/UTs to ensure quality care & protection of Children, adversely affected by Covid-19, as mandated under the Juvenile Justice Act,2015.
To ensure that no child in distress slips through the safety net, certain guidelines are put in place by the central government.
1. Identification & Profiling of children:
– Instructions have been given to states/UTs to identify children in distress & create a database of each child with the details of their specific needs & requirements.
– The data must be kept secure ensuring confidentiality about their identities, as prescribed under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
2. *Vigilance & Protection*:
– To ensure that the children in distress are covered under govt’s safety net, strict vigil by authorities stationed in-state/UTs is advised.
– The contact details of Child Welfare Committees & Childline no-1098 are advised to be publicized at hospital receptions.
3. Emergency Care & Rehabilitation:
– Directions have been given for the immediate rehabilitation of children through existing child care facilities supported under the Child Protection Services scheme.
– Adequate provisions for pediatric & neonatal care may be ensured in every district.
4. Institutional support through Child Care Institutions (CCIs):
– The CCIs to organize special inspection drives with District Magistrates for assessment of quality care in all Child Care Institutions to ascertain children’s wellbeing.
– Suitable arrangements for isolation, proper hygiene, food, etc must be ensured for children suffering from Covid-19.
– Child Psychologists or Counselors should visit CCIs to interact with children.
5. Role of District Magistrate & District Administration Guardianship:
– The DM shall be the Guardian of vulnerable children impacted adversely by Covid-19 & make efforts to rehabilitate them, as prescribed under the JJ Act, 2015.
6. Police support:
– The District Police to stay on alert to prevent trafficking of children, illegal adoption, child marriage, child labor, or abuse of any kind.
– Vigil may be kept on CCIs & vulnerable hot spots during night rounds in Urban & Rural areas to review living conditions.
7. Support of Urban local bodies:
– The child protection committees at Panchayat level must identify & inform about children in distress to District Child Protection Unit.
– Sensitization & orientation of Urban Local Bodies regarding schemes announced for children in distress.
– Free education for orphan children through government Day schools or nearest pvt schools under Section- 12(1)(c) of RTE.
– Vocational training may be provided under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).
9. Medical facilities:
– Health Insurance may be secured for children under PM Jan Arogya Yojana scheme of Government of India.
Earlier, PM Modi announced that under the ‘PM-CARES for Children’ scheme, a fixed deposit will be opened in the name of children who lost their parents to the pandemic.
The PM CARES will contribute through a specially designed scheme to create a corpus of Rs 10 lakh for each child when he/she reaches 18 years of age.