Critical Need to Address Impact of Covid-19 on Children

By:

CSO Platform For Reform – Child Cluster

Affiliations:

Child Rights Coalition Malaysia (CRCM)

Policy Code:

2e Child

Problem Statement:

1. Welfare and wellbeing of the child after their parent/parents death or whose parents have been
hospitalised for Covid-19 due to lack of coordination between Government departments and NGOs
and private sector. This includes financial, legal, mental health, education and case management.
2. Lack of temporary safe placements for children whose parents are hospitalized and/or orphaned.
3. Other issues include collateral health morbidity, downward poverty spiral, education gaps,
worsening childhood malnutrition, trapped in abuse, loss of focus and support for indigenous
children, arrest and detention by authorities, challenges faced by disabled children, severe reduction
in birth rates leading to generational gaps.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

Establish an independent Children’s Department to coordinate all Government agencies addressing
the issues of all children. This should include a National Child Policy and a strategic plan of action
that encompasses emergency response to immediate and long term prevention, intervention, care,
and rehabilitation support systems.

Proposal of Solution:

1. Amplify inter-agency efforts and coordination on prevention and response to children
affected by Covid-19.
2. CPRD should coordinate and set up a Special Committee including MOH , JKM and NGOs to
develop an emergency response to this critical issue to facilitate the sharing of information
for intervention and support for such children immediately.
3. Assignment of Fit Person for Orphaned Child (foster care, kinship, community based,
family based and residential care
In accordance with Section 30(c) of the Child Act, a child with no parent or guardian shall be
placed under the care of a foster parent or a fit and proper person. Finding a foster parent/a
suitable fit person/relative/family member for orphaned children is vital as they would be
able to overcome the grief of losing their loved one, have their basic needs and emotional
support met and protect them from all forms of violence.

Additional Information:

1. Due to Lack of Coordination in tackling the above issue
As the pandemic escalates nationwide we are seeing thousands of children who have been
left home alone or orphaned because a parent or both parents have been hospitalised or
have died from Covid-19. While the Government is making an effort to aid these children
financially through various channels, there is a critical need to collect information on the
number of such so that they can be assisted on their basic needs, care and subsequent
placement either by Government or NGOs. While a Covid-19 Child Support Team is being
set up by NGOs for the Greater Klang valley Covid-19 Taskforce, collaboration with
hospitals, MOH and Department of Social Welfare is critical to enable the efficient handling
of such cases in the best interests of children.
2. Support Systems for Children
Counselling services should also be provided to these children. Losing one or both parents
affects the children’s mental health as they cope with losing their loved ones. A holistic
approach to help such children must cover all financial , legal, placement and care, case
management, education , mental health and other basic needs support.
3. Amar-Singh HSS (November 2020). Covid-19 and its Impact to Future Generations. Speaking
for the Unspoken 2020: The Vulnerable Population and Covid-19. Medico-Legal Society of
Malaysia.

Translation

Isu dan Polisi Semasa:

Kebajikan dan kesejahteraan anak selepas kematian ibu atau bapa, ataupun kedua-duanya telah dimasukkan ke hospital untuk Covid-19 atas sebab kekurangan koordinasi antara jabatan Kerajaan dengan NGO dan sektor swasta. Ini termasuk kewangan, undang-undang, kesihatan mental, pendidikan dan pengurusan kes.

Kekurangan penempatan selamat sementara untuk anak-anak yang ibu bapanya dimasukkan ke hospital dan/atau yatim piatu.

Isu-isu lain termasuk morbiditi kesihatan cagaran, lingkaran kemiskinan menurun, jurang pendidikan, kekurangan zat makanan kanak-kanak, terjebak dalam penyalahgunaan, kehilangan fokus dan sokongan untuk anak-anak orang asli, penangkapan dan penahanan oleh pihak berkuasa, cabaran yang dihadapi oleh kanak-kanak kurang upaya, penurunan kadar kelahiran yang teruk membawa kepada jurang generasi.

Nilai-nilai dan Kepercayaan:

Menubuhkan Jabatan Kanak-kanak yang bebas untuk menyelaraskan semua agensi Kerajaan yang menangani masalah semua kanak-kanak. Ini harus termasuk Dasar Anak Nasional dan rancangan tindakan strategik yang merangkumi tindak balas kecemasan terhadap pencegahan segera dan jangka panjang, intervensi, penjagaan, dan pemulihan sistem sokongan.

Penyelesaian:

Tingkatkan usaha dan koordinasi antara agensi tentang pencegahan dan tindak balas terhadap kanak-kanak yang terkena Covid-19.
CPRD harus menyelaraskan dan menubuhkan Jawatankuasa Khas termasuk MOH, JKM dan NGOs untuk membangunkan tindakan balas kecemasan terhadap isu kritikal ini untuk memudahkan perkongsian maklumat untuk intervensi dan sokongan untuk kanak-kanak tersebut dengan segera.
Penugasan Orang Yang Sesuai untuk Anak Yatim (penjagaan asuhan, kekeluargaan, berdasarkan komuniti, berdasarkan keluarga dan penjagaan kediaman)
Sesuai dengan Seksyen 30 (c) Akta Kanak-kanak, anak yang tidak mempunyai ibu bapa atau penjaga hendaklah ditempatkan di bawah penjagaan ibu bapa angkat atau orang yang sesuai dan tepat. Mencari ibu bapa angkat/orang yang sesuai/saudara/ahli keluarga untuk anak-anak yatim adalah penting kerana mereka dapat mengatasi kesedihan kehilangan orang yang mereka sayangi, memberi keperluan asas dan sokongan emosi mereka dan melindungi mereka dari semua jenis keganasan.

Informasi Tambahan:

1. Due to Lack of Coordination in tackling the above issue
As the pandemic escalates nationwide we are seeing thousands of children who have been
left home alone or orphaned because a parent or both parents have been hospitalised or
have died from Covid-19. While the Government is making an effort to aid these children
financially through various channels, there is a critical need to collect information on the
number of such so that they can be assisted on their basic needs, care and subsequent
placement either by Government or NGOs. While a Covid-19 Child Support Team is being
set up by NGOs for the Greater Klang valley Covid-19 Taskforce, collaboration with
hospitals, MOH and Department of Social Welfare is critical to enable the efficient handling
of such cases in the best interests of children.
2. Support Systems for Children
Counselling services should also be provided to these children. Losing one or both parents
affects the children’s mental health as they cope with losing their loved ones. A holistic
approach to help such children must cover all financial , legal, placement and care, case
management, education , mental health and other basic needs support.
3. Amar-Singh HSS (November 2020). Covid-19 and its Impact to Future Generations. Speaking
for the Unspoken 2020: The Vulnerable Population and Covid-19. Medico-Legal Society of
Malaysia.