Hyderabad: The COVID-19 surge across the country has affected young children the worst. With deaths due to the Coronavirus on the rise, social media is flooded with citizens sharing details of children who have either lost both their parents, or have been hospitalised appealing for them to be adopted, despite experts warning that it could amount to trafficking.
State and central governments have advised people to report such cases either to the police or district child welfare committees. The Telangana Child Welfare Department said that over the past week they have received at least 15-20 phone calls requesting assistance for such children.
"We received about 300 calls seeking guidance in case of parents and children in one family all testing positive for COVID-19, which we directed to the medical officers. Of these, 15-20 calls were such cases where either a single parent was hospitalised, or both parents had passed away due to the disease, and guardians requested educational or financial support", an official in the child welfare department said.
The help desk at the department received calls ranging for arrangement of a COVID-19 test for a three-year-old in Khammam district, where the child's parents had both tested positive and were in home isolation. The neighbour of the family requested the officials to visit their home and help the kid.
In another case in Suryapet district, Anganwadi teachers visited the house of a 14-year-old child, orphaned due to COVID-19, to assess his condition and provide counselling. The District Child Protection Unit after a call from the boy's uncle, provided him with an admission in a Child Care Institution and started the process for his admission in a nearby school.
Meanwhile, the state child welfare department has also set up a transit facility in Hyderabad for the safe stay of girl children whose parents are hospitalised due to COVID. In case of any child needing support, the nearest Child Welfare Committee will facilitate the admission.
The Telangana Minister for Tribal, Women and Child Welfare Satyavathi Rathod on Thursday also inaugurated a special isolation center for the treatment of children at the Commissionerate. The Minister also directed officials to set up special vehicles in all districts of the state during the crisis period so that children affected by the disease can be immediately rushed to nearby hospitals and children's centers for better treatment in a timely manner.