The Kerala government has issued an official order announcing a rehabilitation package for children orphaned by COVID-19. The order is just a formalisation of a decision already taken.
The long-term assistance is for children who have lost both their parents to COVID-19. The benefit will also be extended to children who had lost one parent earlier to non-COVID cause and had then lost the remaining parent to COVID-19. At the latest count, there are 74 such children in Kerala who will get the assistance. Nearly 1,000 children in Kerala have lost at least one parent to COVID-19.
The financial help will have three components. One, a fixed deposit of Rs 3 lakh will be opened in the child's name. Two, a monthly sum of Rs 2000 will be transferred to the joint account of the child and her recognised guardian from the funds of the Women and Child Department. Three, the government will bear the education expenses of the child up to the degree level.
These children will also be brought within the definition of "children in need of care and protection".
The Kerala government has also passed on the data about the beneficiaries to the Supreme Court and the Union government. The data has been collected through the District Child Protection Officers of the Women and Child Development Department. It was collected during the second half of May last week, and uploaded on the Bal Swaraj child tracking portal of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) following a Supreme Court direction to district authorities.
The portal also requires states to file social investigation report and individual care plan of each child. Kerala has informed the apex court that Integrated Child Development Services and child protection functionaries were conducting house visits for the purpose. Individual care plans will be submitted after the house investigations are completed.