Shillong, May 31: A minor girl aged 16 in East Khasi Hills has lost both her parents to Covid-19.
While the mother died on May 14, the father passed away on May 22. She is currently staying with her relatives.
The Supreme Court has already sought reports from all the states regarding the status of orphans due to Covid. The note submitted to amicus curiae on behalf of Meghalaya in response to the order of the Supreme Court on May 28, said that from April 1 till date, there is only one child who lost both her parents to Covid-19.
“She has already been presented before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and is presently staying with her relatives and social investigation is being carried out by the concerned CWC and accordingly a decision will be taken by the CWC as to whether, for her well-being, it would be beneficial for her to stay with her relatives or to be moved to a child care institution. Telephonic counseling has been provided to her by the District Child Protection Unit and arrangements are being made to give financial assistance of Rs 2000 per month under the ICDS scheme,” the note said.
It was further submitted that there are 34 children – 16 deaths as some of them are siblings- who have lost one of their parents from April 1 till date and in all such cases, social investigation is being carried out by the CWC concerned to ensure whether any of them is a ‘child in need of care and protection’ under Section 2(14) of the JJ Act and accordingly a decision will be taken to ensure their well-being. In addition, telephonic counselling has been provided.
Among 34, there are eight children who have become orphans after one of their parents died of Covid, while others are due to non-Covid reasons.
Other steps being taken by the state government to address the issues arising out of the pandemic which are affecting the ‘children in need of care and protection’ are that take home dry ration is being provided to each and every family affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, separate doctors have been designated to exclusively take care of children lodged in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) and separate transit homes have been designated for male and female children staying in CCIs affected from Covid-19 in most of the district headquarters.