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Child Rights Alliance appeals to PMO for the well-being of marginalised children

New Delhi. April, 02, 2020: With India under a 21-day lockdown (till 14 April, 2020) to prevent and control any community outbreak of COVID-19, Joining Forces For Children – India– an alliance of six leading child development organizations (ChildFund India, Plan India, Bal Raksha Bharat India, SOS Children’s Villages of India, Terre des hommes and World Vision India), areappreciative of the government’s decisionand are concerned about the negative impact to children’s rights.  The alliance remains fully committed to extend its support to the Government of India in this time of national crisis and to serve the best interests of children, who constitute 39% of the population, facingmulti-dimensional risks in the present scenario.

The outbreak of COVID-19, as a global health disaster threatens children’s rights across India, and poses a serious disruption to their education, healthcare, protection and overall wellbeing, including social interaction with friends, peers, family members, teachers and adult caregivers. In the light of the given situation, the fundamental rights of children are hampered.

Lauding the steps taken by the Government of India, on 25th March, 2020 the Alliance has written an appeal to the Prime Minister’s Office with a copy to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Finance, NITI Aayog, and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)with a fervent request to ensure that the well-being of the most vulnerable children is not compromised.

On behalf of the vulnerable children of India, the Alliance Members have appealed to the Government of India to:

  • Prioritise and identify the most vulnerable and at risk children for prevention and response interventions: These include children in street situations, homeless children, migrant and internally displaced children, children as domestic helps, refugee children, children in child care institutions, children with disabilities and special needs , children of daily wage workers. In all these situations special focus may be given to girl children.
  • Provide uninterrupted access to critical services for the most vulnerable children and their families: To overcome the immediate & long-term impact of the crisis, Government to ensure, on priority basis: access to critical services such as healthcare, nutrition, food security, mental health & psychosocial support, protection against violence and ensure social protection and child-sensitive cash transfer initiatives to the most vulnerable children and poorest families.
  • Provide child-friendly outreach messages and run child friendly public information campaigns, in collaboration with civil society organizations, to parents, caregivers, teachers and others who work directly with children, for effective prevention and psychosocial support. Ensure Childline toll-free number 1098 which is declared as the COVID-19 emergency outreach number for children/parents/caregivers, is accessible for children in distress due to COVID-19
  • Protect children in child care institutions: A separate policy guidelines for child care during COVID-19 need to be prepared for children’s homes and care centers. Caregivers and staff members of child care institutions should be placed under the category of ‘essential services’ to ensure continued care and protection during lockdown.
  • Prevent separation and stigma of child and caregiver during any treatment and isolation, through development of appropriate care protocols.
  • Scale-up investment in child protection system strengthening through Child Protection Services (CPS) and Juvenile Justice System structures, with particular support to states having child protection related vulnerability for large population.

The Alliance further welcomes the advisory issued on 28 March, 2020 by NCPCR regarding care and protection of migrant children, children living on streets and children in Child Care Institutions during COVID-19.

For further information contact:
Devendra Tak, Head, Media &Communication; Bal Raksha Bharat at d.tak@savethechildren.in
Mobile: 98111 68488

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