The child rights body NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) has asked states to register data of children who have lost parents to COVID-19 on the Bal Swaraj portal. These directives were put into effect after the Supreme Court commanded district authorities to upload data on orphaned minors on the Bal Swaraj portal. NCPCR has stated that the usage of this portal has been extended under COVID-Care to oversee all children who have lost parents after March 2020, whether the cause of death was COVID-19 or otherwise. These children are to be supervised and provided for.
NCPCR Bal Swaraj Guidelines
There have also been a set of directives conveyed towards state authorities to follow. Every minor found to be in distress and without familial support must be presented to the Child Welfare Committee managing the area. The board has also requested district leaders to ensure the data collected on orphaned children will not be distributed externally. This is to guarantee the information will not fall into the hands of private organizations/civilians. A data leak could lead to the children becoming vulnerable to illegal adoptions, abuse, trafficking, etc.
The commission also stated that several non-profit organizations are currently collecting the personal information of orphaned children for adoptions are doing so without following the guidelines given in the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015. The procedures in the aforementioned Act were purposefully made to be exhaustive and detailed to make sure children are entering stable households. The view the board holds on adoptions that occurred without following these directives is that they aren’t only illegal but also amount to an offence.
An NCPCR spokesperson expressed that education is of utmost importance in the stability of a school-age child. Unfortunately, when both parents of a minor pass away, there are several deterrents and barriers placed upon the child continuing their education. Therefore, the appropriate governmental body is responsible for the continued well-being and education of orphaned children. This means that the aforementioned governmental entities should make certain that no child is forced out of a school or is pushed into moving to another school involuntarily. Authorities should also reach out to the police or Childline services to obtain knowledge of children who have gone missing or been abandoned within the span of a day.