Thiruvananthapuram: The deprived children of the state cannot even dream of a better life with the state government giving only a low priority to their welfare.
The ambitious kinship foster care programme launched by the government to entrust such children to the willing relatives has not made much headway as it covers only a small percentage of beneficiaries.
The reason is shortage of funds though the government has given high priority to deinstitutionalising kids who live in orphanages and other institutions run by both the government and private parties.
The kinship foster care programme covers only 887 kids while there are an estimated 22,441 destitute children across the state. The government has sanctioned only Rs 84 lakh for the programme this financial year which is inadequate to meet the rising demand. It gives a monthly amount of Rs 2,000 per child to the foster parents for their education and care.
The Juvenile Justice Act strictly says the institutions should be the last resort, but many poor parents leave their children at government and private shelter homes.
"If the government provides support, these children can benefit from the foster care programme, but now onlythe neediest children are selected. Children with poor health should be given more care," said S.P. Deepak,general secretary, Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW).
He urged the government to earmark more funds for the purpose. "The child council sometimes use its own funds to sponsor the children," he added.