The global pandemic has orphaned 273 children in the capital city
According to an RTI response, there are 5,640 children who have lost one parent to Covid-19 in Delhi, while 273 children have been orphaned. The RTI response to questions by Advocate Mohit Kumar Gupta, shared with us, puts the statistics according to data provided by the “DCPOs, CWC, ICDS field functionaries and others.”
Delhi government’s state health bulletin puts the total number of deaths due to Covid-19, in the union territory, at 25,044. The second wave which was particularly deadly, had many sharing cases of children orphaned by the virus, over Twitter. Government took hold of the matter, with a generation of children affected by the pandemic needing assistance.
A Senior Consultant with Delhi commissions for protection of child rights (DCPCR), Salam Khan, told us they have confirmed 60 cases of children orphaned in the city, as of now — whom they will be providing help. “We have confirmed 60 cases of orphans where help will be provided to the family. Figures may be different, there might be some discrepancy. Also, for some orphans there are grandparents and other relatives who are willing to raise the child. We assess the situation and see if they are capable and then move forward,” he said.
When there isn’t such help available, the government would require the help of fosters — especially NGOs working in this domain. On the women and child development website of the Delhi government, it has advertised asking “if you or your organisation is willing and prepared to own responsibility of a child” they may sponsor the child or contribute to the Delhi child welfare fund; be a foster parent, or provide group foster care.
While the Delhi government previously announced a monthly support of Rs 2,500 for children who have lost both parents, Khan has said an SOP to help those children who have lost one parent has also been worked on.
“CWC (child welfare committee) concern is providing support under the government of Delhi for a sponsorship program. The SOP has also been finalised and given to the CWC and they are working on it. So, all children who have lost one member of the family (parent), will be produced before the committee and they will have a small investigation. If they find it suitable, they will give a sum of Rs 2,000 per month for one year, and if they deemed fit, this sum can be extended until the child becomes 18 years old. Even after 18 years of age if the CWC finds the child needs support it can be recommended till the age of 21 years,” Khan adds further.
There have been many people coming forward everyday according to the DCPCR, “those who are willing to sponsor and also those who are ready to foster.”
The DCPCR will soon also begin a help desk at its main office in Kashmere Gate which will facilitate registration of children orphaned, left with one parent, and widows. If things go as planned, the process will begin on July 29. For now, the Commission’s consultant says there have been 2,500 cases that have come to their notice.
For those orphaned because of Covid, on July 1, the minister of women and child development Rajendra Pal Gautam had announced a scheme through which financial assistance would be provided. People who left Delhi can also apply under this where Rs 50,000 compensation will be given for the death of one parent. Compensation of Rs 1 lakh will be given alongside an amount of Rs 2,500 per month to the orphaned child. All the orphaned children will be supported by the Delhi government till 25 years of age. “The commission is monitoring these deaths very seriously,”he added.
(Cover: Representational // Credit — Getty Images)