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Govt announces plan to rehabilitate kids who lost parents to COVID

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New Delhi, May 17: The government has laid out a procedure for rehabilitation of children who lost their parents to COVID-19. The public notice by the Women and Child Development Ministry comes amid reports that several messages offering children, who have lost their parents to COVID, for adoption are circulating on social media.

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Advising the public to refrain from engaging or encouraging such action, which is in contravention to legal provisions, the WCD Ministry has laid out lawful procedure of rehabilitation of children who lost their parents to COVID-19.

The ministry has said that the child who has lost both parents to COVID-19 ought to be produced before the District Child Welfare Committee (CWC) within 24 hours, excluding the journey time.

"The CWC shall ascertain the immediate need of the child and pass appropriate orders for rehabilitation of the child, either to restore the child to caregivers or place her/him in institutional or non-institutional care, on case to case basis," the WCD Ministry said in a public notice.

The ministry further said that effort will be made to sustain the children in their family and community environment as far as possible, while ensuring their safety in their surroundings and safeguarding their interest, as prescribed under the Juvenile Justice Act.

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"If the child is restored to any kind of kinship care, the CWC will continue to check the well-being of the child on regular basis. Care must be taken to protect the identity of the child avoid undue distress," the WCD Ministry said.

The ministry has also asked the state governments have been advised to use digital platform for interaction in exceptional cases where physical interaction is not possible in current circumstances due to COVID related restrictions.

The ministry also said that the information about any child who has lost both the parents can be shared with childline (1098).

"The local childline unit will help produce the child before the CWC within 24 hours and the local childline unit will also assist the CWC in monitoring the well-being of the child as and when required," it said.

The ministry said persons wishing to adopt orphan children may approach Central Adoption Resource Authority (cara.nic.in) for lawful adoptions.

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