NEW DELHI: The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) wrote to states and union territories on Monday, urging them to inform child protection authorities about children who have lost both parents due to COVID-19.
"The commission has been made aware of instances where it has been seen that many NGOs are advertising about the children who have become orphan after losing both their parents to COVID-19," NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said in the letter addressed to chief secretaries.
"In such a sad situation of surge in COVID-19 cases in the country there are situations arising where the child has lost both its parents or is found to be abandoned.
It may be noted that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 provides for the procedure to be followed for children who have lost their family support and have become child in need of care and protection," it said.
The procedure under the JJ Act, 2015 ensures that children are provided all the minimum standards of care and their rights are upheld and protected, Kanoongo said.
"Therefore, it is of utmost importance that these children who have lost their family support must be produced before the child protection authorities of the district, and information about these children must be shared with the authorities," he wrote.
These children who have lost family support due to COVID-19 or have been abandoned due to the loss of parents to the disease are in need of care and protection as per the JJ Act, 2015, and such children must be produced before the Child Welfare Committee as per section 31 of the Act, the commission said.
It also pointed out that it was necessary for every individual, entity, organisation or NGO to ensure that any information received about orphaned and abandoned children during these COVID times is shared on the helpine 1098.
"Similarly, it is further requested that if any such information for an abandoned or orphaned children is received by any entity, organisation, NGO then the same can be also be informed to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights either through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through telephone (011-23478250) for assistance and help to the children.
This information can also be shared with the respective state commissions of the said state/UT for the same," the letter read.