Increasing cases of infants being abandoned, Child Rights body issues advisory to state govt agencies

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Panaji: Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Monday issued advisory to various state government agencies in the wake of increasing number of infants being found abandoned at unsafe places.

The Commission Chairperson Peter Borges on Monday has issued advisory to Directorate of Women and Child Welfare, Health Department and Goa Police to provide the parent in distress to surrender the infant.

“The recent incidences of new-born abandonment in Goa, most of it in unsafe places recently is very perturbing,” the commission has said in the advisory.

The commission noted that the state has recorded eleven such cases in last five years (2017-2022), with four of them registered in 2022 itself.

“Of these three abandoned infants have succumbed to gory aftermath of unsafe abandonments spanning dog bites to inflicted by garbage, etc.,” it has added.

The commission has said that with this series of incidents of baby abandonment, there is a need for greater prevention efforts and actions for the protection of children by all stakeholders for the future.

This preparedness and actions will require close-coordinated, multi-sectoral, and collaborative efforts between all stakeholders,” it adds.

Borges said that the lack of awareness about the law on surrendering unwanted children is a major reason behind infant abandonment issue.

In an advisory issues, the Commission has asked Directorate of Women and Child Development to ensure that the Specialized Adoption Agencies in Goa which are currently operating set up at its own home cradle to receive abandoned children.

The commission has insisted for awareness and sensitization programmes for anganwadi staff – As most cases of pregnancies as well as unwanted pregnancies are known to anganwadi workers, build capacity of anganwadi staff to educate and sensitize the parents and to reduce stigma surrounding abandonment, given their strong network in rural areas.

For Health department, the Commission has recommended that cradles and signage to cradles be put up at various places considered most appropriate to receive such children, i.e primary health centres, hospitals (government and private), nursing homes, etc to receive new-borns who are unwanted and put them in child protection system for legal adoption.

The Commission has also asked Goa Police that no FIR shall be registered against any biological parents during the inquiry process in cases of abandoned/ surrendered children.

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