NEW DELHI: A counsellor trained to respond to children in distress answers a call for help. On the line is a woman from Gurugram asking about the process involved in adoption of a child who has lost both parents to Covid-19. Soon after a 27- year – old man calls from Delhi with queries related to adoption.
Another caller from Madhya Pradesh says his family wants to adopt a child who has lost his parents to the pandemic and they have been making inquiries with hospitals. These are some of the calls received over the last fortnight by counsellors at the tele-counselling toll free number (SAMVEDNA – 1800-121-2830) steered by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
In the last week alone, around 17 callers reached out to SAMVEDNA with queries for adoption of children orphaned in the second wave of the pandemic. According to NCPCR, in keeping with protocol, each caller is informed that adoption can be done only through a laid out legal procedure under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and through the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).
They further share the legal procedure and information about how a call should be placed to Childline 1098 immediately for intervention, the role of police and also information on contacting the child welfare committee and CARA. NCPCR also plans to followup and track these cases through the call recordings in the coming days.
In the backdrop of reports regarding children orphaned due to loss of parents to Covid-19 pandemic and posts circulating on social media, both the ministry of women and child development and NCPCR have written to states on measures related to rehabilitation of such children to ensure safety and prevent trafficking. Also WCD ministry has asked the ministry of health and family welfare and sought that a column may be added to hospital admission forms seeking details of a trustworthy person to whom children be handed over.