Who should get child’s custody in case both the parents die? Govt wants a declaration from hospitalised COVID parents

The COVID-19 situation in India is “turning from bad to worse” and has affected almost everyone in the country. But recently there has been a growing concern over how the virus is affecting children. I think it will not be completely incorrect to say that what we are seeing and experiencing is just a minuscule of what’s actually happening. For a moment, just think about those kids who lost their parents to COVID-19.

As India continuous to battle with the second wave of the COVID pandemic, reports of children across the country being homeless with their parents dying from the infection are going viral. Taking note of the situation, the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) therefore, has asked the Health Ministry to ask hospitals across the country to take declarations from parents being admitted, to whom their children should go to in case of their deaths.

The government is finding the step important because of several reports regarding children who lost their parents due to COVID-19.  With no one to take care of the children in such cases, it would be useful if parents could themselves provide details of their trusted relatives or friends who can be contacted, in case any eventuality happens.

Stop illegal adoption:

Looking at the serious condition, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani has urged people to immediately inform the police or Child Welfare Committee of their districts about children who have lost their parents to COVID-19 and have no one to take care of them.

With this, the Minister also appealed the citizens to take this as their legal responsibility and inform the police to prevent illegal child adoption as it is “legally not permissible to give or take orphan children of anyone else in adoption.”

Observing the widely circulated social media posts of adoptions, the Minister urged people to share photos, videos or contact details of children on different social media platforms. She also said that such illegal adoption may also lead to child trafficking and in order to save children from such mishappenings, it is important to inform police or Child Welfare Committee. People can also inform about such orphaned children on child helpline number 1098.

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