Protecting children’s rights during COVID-19 pandemic

Considering the current state of emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Alliance of active NGOs in the field of Child and Family Social Protection (APSCF) is concerned about the negative impact this has on children and their families. The home-based quarantine and isolation measures can have a negative effect on people at risk: children affected by poverty; children with special educational needs; children from residential institutions; children victims of domestic violence; street children; refugee children; children in detention; children without parental care, etc.

Quarantine measures, such as closing schools and travel restrictions, can disturb the daily lives of children and their social support, while at the same time create a stressing environment for parents and carers, forcing them to find new ways to take care of the child or giving up work.

The situation in the country is changing rapidly and APSCF is concerned about the Government’s response to the needs of children from vulnerable groups. Following the evolution of things, several concerns were identified:

  • The capacity of the educational institutions to guarantee the continuation of the studies, considering the children affected by poverty do not have the necessary resources to continue the studies on-line.
  • Children with special educational needs are affected by the situation, they need individualised approaches adapted to their needs, and this is a very big challenge under the current conditions.
  • Children from single-parent families, or children whose parents become ill with the new Coronavirus.
  • The risks of domestic violence may increase as the isolation / quarantine period is extended. International reports have shown that women and children are at greater risk of abuse in their own homes. In this regard, helplines and online counseling are essential.
  • Insufficient access to child protection services.

The crisis and its consequences will put additional pressure on the child protection system. The actions of the relevant authorities should be focused on providing the most effective protection of children from vulnerable groups in particular, under conditions of social isolation when the contact of the child with the surrounding world and with the skilled persons who could help him is quite limited.