The Central government has come out with fresh guidelines for the care and protection of the children affected by coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The responsibilities have been assigned to the states, district magistrates, police, Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies.
Women and Child Development Ministry Secretary Ram Mohan Mishra on Wednesday in a letter to the chief secretaries of all the states and Union territories, said that in order to streamline and facilitate the actions being taken, while the important responsibility of the primary duty holders have been enlisted to ensure the best interest of children during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Here are the guidelines issued by the government:
- The states need to identify the children in distress through outreach and surveys and prepare a database with a profile of each child, along with the details of their specific needs and requirements, and ensure that the data is uploaded on the Track Child portal.
- The states and Union territories need to temporarily assign child care institutions (CCIs) to house those children whose parents have been unwell due to Covid-19 and provide necessary support to them, in case the extended family is not available to take care of them.
- The states to issue directions to hospitals to collect the contact details of trustworthy persons known to the patients in the admission form, to be contacted for taking care of children in case of any eventuality has been asked by the Women and Child Development Ministry has asked
- The states have been asked to make suitable arrangements for isolation facilities within the CCIs to take care of the children suffering from Covid-19 and prepare a roaster of child psychologists or counsellors to visit the facilities and interact with the children.
- The states have been asked to launch a local helpline number operated by experts for giving psychosocial care and support to the children in times of distress.
- The government said that the DMs need to create a district-level multi-departmental task force to map the needs, monitor the progress and ensure that all benefits reach the affected children and all civil society organisations may be asked to positively inform the Child Welfare Committee or the District Child Protection Unit about any vulnerable child noticed by them.
- The district police teams must stay alert and vigilant to prevent trafficking of children, illegal adoption, child marriage, child labour or any other kind of abuse.
- The Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies must ensure that the child protection committees at the panchayat level identify and inform the district administration or the District Child Protection Unit about children in distress.
- It must be ensured that all children orphaned during the Covid-19 pandemic are provided free education through government day schools or residential schools.