“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. From Chhattisgarh to Madhya Pradesh, These States Have Announced Free Education For Children Orphaned Due to COVID-19 Pandemic.

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.

8. Education:

- 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.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 07, 2021 03:05 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).