As many children in Telangana have lost both their parents due to covid in the second wave of the pandemic, the Department of Women Development and Child Welfare has decided to provide smartphones to kids, uploaded with emergency and important numbers such as the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO), child helpline and other emergency numbers.
The aim is to ensure the safety of children who lost their parents to COVID-19. District Welfare Officer (DWO) of Hyderabad, T Akkeshwar Rao said that providing phones to orphaned children is one of the attempts to safeguard them from any kind of atrocities. Children can be just a phone call away from the cops and can also contact emergency numbers whenever in need.
The children have also been counselled on whom to contact and when to contact a concerned officer. It is reported that in Hyderabad city alone, 10 children are orphaned as their parents succumbed to COVID-19 and 75 children have lost their parents because of some other reasons during the pandemic. In addition, 138 children in Telangana lost their single parent, mostly breadwinner of the family to COVID-19.
Nearly 200 children in total have been given monthly ration kits in collaboration with an NGO as immediate relief. These numbers do not include those children who lost parents but have a guardian. Such kids are sent to the guardian. But, if children have no guardian to take care of, then they are transited to the 57 child homes across the city where all the needs and cares of those children will be looked after by the department.
As per the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) rules, the children also have been put for adoption and the procedure includes counselling of both the children and the adopting parents. To avoid interruption in orphaned child’s education, the department is getting these children admission into Government hostels, Government Model Schools and BC (backward classes) Residential schools in Telangana. Moreover, the financial assistance of Rs 2,000 per child is also being provided by the department.
Apart from this, children who have been adopted will also be checked upon on a regular basis. Three teams have been constituted with each team consisting of a doctor, Auxiliary nurse-midwife (ANM), one member from the DCPO unit and a supervisor. “Every week these three teams have to visit these children’s homes and conduct health checkups. If any child is found to be having COVID symptoms, then we send that child for further diagnosis. Separate rooms have been dedicated for isolating children with COVID symptoms,” said T Akkeshwar Rao. He also assures that all indispensable measures are being taken and they are prepared to deal with an expected third wave of COVID-19.