Bhubaneswar (Odisha): Aiming to protect the welfare of children during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Odisha government has set up a 24X7 helpline and temporary homes for children across 30 districts.
Due to the surge in Covid cases, children whose parents are dying or under treatment in Covid-19 dedicated hospitals have been rendered orphaned or helpless. Near and dear ones or relatives are also unwilling to come forward and take care of these abandoned children.
"Considering the vulnerable situation, the Women and Child Development (WCD) and Mission Shakti Department has issued 24X7 helpline 1098, Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR) helpline and State Covid helpline for immediate tracking of these children", read an official release yesterday.
Any person coming across a child below the age of 18 who has been orphaned or has parents who have been under treatment in Covid-19 dedicated hospitals or in isolation may contact the helpline numbers or get in touch with Child Protection Officer for immediate rescuing of these children.
Department of WCD and Mission Shakti with its strong networking system has been facilitating an uninterrupted operation of the 'Childline' team all over the State to provide rescue and response services to children. "Created Sarpanchs' WhatsApp group in every district. Sarpanchs are also the Chairperson of the Grampanchayat level child protection committees", informed the release.
The cases which require intervention are also being reported through this platform. WCD is having close coordination with field-level functionaries and attending to every child at risk. WCD is responding to issues and grievances of Child Care Institutions (CCIs) through a WhatsApp group. The Government has also made child protection alliance through networking and regular contact with civil society organisations (CSOs).
Modes such as displaying helpline numbers at Covid Care Centres, isolation homes along with contact details of DCPU and CWCs to aware the public and affected people for the protection of their children are in place. Temporary homes have been created in 30 districts to safely keep the distressed children whose families are affected by Covid second wave. So far 4 children have been identified and kept in CCIs.
Detailed instruction to CCIs for prevention and management has been issued. Provided virtual training to CCI functionaries regarding Covid prevention and infection management.
Some other steps taken are, restricted outsiders entry to the CCIs; Mapping of staffs has been done and restricting their movements; Prepared a Covid-19 calendar and implemented in CCIs for a creative engagement of children; Creative engagement through special campaign and smart education through personalised learning app; Prepared a psycho social manual in local language and practiced through training of the trainers and implementers.
Also, financial assistance to all CCIs has been ensured. Up to date funds have been released to aided CCIs and token support to non-aided CCIs. Provision of Thermal Scanner, Oxymeter, Mask and sanitizers to all CCIs. Disinfection and sanitization of CCIs are conducted in regular interval. Mandatory inspections are conducted through virtual visits. Isolation facilities have been created in CCIs in every district. There are 8500+ children in 238 CCIs cared by 2000+ care givers. Tracking each case of infection is done on regular basis.