The Covid 19 pandemic has taken away parental protection of 1450 children across the state, forcing many of them to take shelter at state government sponsored care centres. Alarmed over the reports of illegal adoptions, the state has appointed a task force to monitor the well-being of these children under the guidelines of the central government.
As of today, it is reported that 1450 children have lost their parents and 60 children have lost both mother and father, says a report by the state women and child development department. The department, headed by Minister Yashomati Thakur is monitoring the situation with a district wise task force which coordinates with local hospitals to prevent any maltreatment or abuse.
According to a senior official from the state government, comprehensive guidelines issued by the state on May 12 last made it mandatory for the task force to coordinate with the local hospitals and take note of such children who are in distress. The task force also coordinates with the hospitals if isolation of such children was required and arrangements, if required to be made. Around 140 children are currently at various children’s homes across the state. Children who have lost both mother and father in this pandemic have to be brought to the notice of the Union ministry of women and child development as no one can adopt them illegally, said the official.
The district task force is under the district collector with police superintendent, chief of municipal body, civil surgeon and chief of the district child welfare committee among the members. The task force decides on the future care of the children, if the child needs shelter, any support including the counselling is provided to them. Besides, a three-member team has been set up at Mantralaya level to coordinate with the district task force for the coordination.
The figures across the state reveal that 506 is the highest number of children who have lost either mother or father and this is from Bhandara district of Vidarbha, followed by Nandurbar 201, Nanded 179, Dhule 25 and Yavatmal 24. The districts of Nandurbar, Dhule, Yavatmal and Nanded have significant tribal population. Districts of Hingoli and Jalna from Marathwada have registered 17 children who have lost their parents.
The central ministry, through a directive issued in the first week of this month, has asked the state government to update a national online portal on a day-to-day basis with updates of children with details.