GUWAHATI, March 30 - Apex child rights body of Assam ASCPCR has asked all the child care institutions (CCIs) of the State to not refuse to accept the children being sent to their homes by the Child Welfare Committee, Juvenile Justice Board, police and Childline, after apprehension among some of the CCIs to accept new cases of children in need of care and protection, in view of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) has, however, passed instructions at various levels to ensure strict implementation of the health protocols and screening of the rescued children, street children, children of migrant workers and any other vulnerable sections, to eliminate any fear of spread of infection through the newly admitted children.
It needs mention here that the rescuing agencies had a tough time rehabilitating two new cases of homeless children in Kamrup (Metro) during the lockdown period, when a number of children�s homes refused to accept them fearing spread of the disease.
One of the two minor girls rescued by the Childline later got shelter in a city-based orphanage, whereas the other was sent to Swadhar home � a shelter meant for destitute women.
�Rescued children are a reality and they need more care and protection, specially during the unprecedented situations like the one we are facing today. We can�t deny care and protection to them. At the same time, we also need to adhere to all precautionary measures. We have instructed the child care institutions to move through the Health department, before producing them to the child welfare committees (CWC),� ASCPCR chairperson Sunita Changkakoti told The Assam Tribune.
Considering the health concerns, instructions for mandatory screenings have been given along with the provisions for keeping suspected or symptomatic children for three to seven days in hospitals with separate facilities for boys and girls, before sending them to children homes.
�An unforeseen situation arising out of the outbreak of Covid-19 has posed new challenges for the agencies engaged in protection of children. Like in other cases, here too, we need to put up a joint fight so that no segment is left out. Otherwise the entire purpose of lockdown would be defeated,� she added.
Member secretary, State Child Protection Society, has been asked to instruct all CCIs in this regard, along with specific instruction on screening of children already staying in the CCIs to check and stop the spread of Covid-19.
The commission has also written to all the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police to ensure implementation of NCPCR advisory on Covid-19 for care and protection of children moving with migrant families, children living on the streets and CCIs. Besides, it has also apprised the State Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna for necessary arrangement of supply of food items, hand wash, sanitisers and masks for children and their families living on streets, children living in child care homes and those of other vulnerable sections, even if they are living with their parents.
As instructed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the NCPCR guidelines, the Commission has also asked the police and district authorities to extend full administrative support and protection to the rescue teams like Childline during the lockdown period.