Andhra Pradesh identifies 32 child care centres for children whose parents are under treatment for COVID-19

Published : May 25, 2021 13:04 IST

File picture of a child care institution in Vijayawada. Photo: K.V.S. GIRI

COVID-19’s second wave in Andhra Pradesh, as in other States, has resulted in a number of children, many from rural areas, being left temporarily ‘orphaned’ because their infected parents are in hospital. Taking note of this situation, the Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy government has identified 32 Child Care Institutions (CCIs) spread across the State’s 13 districts to house children who have lost their parents to COVID or whose parents have contracted COVID and require medical attention. The institutions will provide the children with food, shelter and education.

According to officials from the Women Development and Child Welfare (WDCW) Department, any child or guardian in need of this assistance can contact the helpline numbers – 181 and 1098. A district-level team would be sent to the residence of the child and the child would be take to the nearest CCI. Persons who have come to know of children whose parents are infected and not in a position to take care of their children can also approach the district collector or the tahsildar.

Officials from the WDCW told Frontline that members of the district administration had recently visited the residence of three siblings in the ages of four to 11 from Terranepally, a hamlet in Anantapur district, on getting information that both their parents were infected with COVID and had to be shifted to the district hospital 70 km away. After the necessary checks and paperwork, the children were shifted to the Rural Development Trust Children’s Home for Boys and Girls at Bukkarayasamudram. The home, which caters mainly to speech and hearing-impaired children, is now empty as all the children have gone to their homes.

Said Dr Arja Srikanth, the COVID Nodal Officer: “We have notified these centres for children whose parents have been hospitalised or have died. All possible support and care will be extended to these children in these centres. This measure is being taken by the State government to ensure that no child is abandoned and is receiving proper care and attention.”

According to an official, in the unfortunate event of both parents succumbing to the virus, the child will, based on his/her preference, be handed over either to the care of a suitable guardian or be moved to the adoption framework.