577 children orphaned by COVID-19 identified across the country: govt.

The official added that the government would make efforts to ensure that children are not uprooted from familial settings

Published - May 26, 2021 05:27 am IST - NEW DELHI

The government has identified 577 children orphaned by COVID-19 in India, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

“These children are not abandoned. They are under the watch and protection of the government. We have collected this data from each State government, and we are in touch with them to ensure that these children either get institutional care or are in the care of their immediate family,” a senior official of the Ministry of Women and Child Development said.

The official added that the government would make efforts to ensure that children are not uprooted from familial settings.

“Each district is granted ₹10 lakh under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (renamed Vaatsalya) for non-institutional child care. The District Magistrates can use this money to ensure support for the families providing care to such children,” the official said.

Officials of the Ministry also said that messages on social media offering COVID-19 orphans for adoption were investigated by the police and all of them were found to be “fake”, with the phone numbers inactive.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs and the State Police departments are on alert,” said the official.

Earlier this month, the Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani issued an appeal on Twitter to report instances of children found to be orphaned by COVID-19 to either the helpline 1098 or to child welfare committees (CWCs) or the local police. She stated that requests for adoption of such children were illegal.

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