IPOH: A non-governmental organisation - OrphanCare Foundation - is concerned about the future of children who became orphans due to the death of their parents because of Covid-19.
The foundation’s chief executive officer Datin Paduka Che Asmah Ibrahim said they hoped that the government would consider other solutions aside from just sending the children to orphanages.
"We believe that the next of kin should always always be considered first to care for orphan children.
"Putting the children in institutions should always be the last option, because this would only further traumatise the child," she said.
Che Asmah said support should be extended to families of next of kin that are taking care of them so that they are able to stay together, and not be separated.
She said there should be some monitoring done by the government from time to time on such cases with the help of NGOs, or community groups to ensure the well being of the children.
"Life in most institutions is sad as studies have shown that it negatively impacts the children.
"Most are cut off from the outside world, and at the age of 18 when they are made to leave the institutions, most of them will have trouble adjusting to living outside their former ‘homes’," she added.
Thus Che Asmah said OrphanCare hopes to work closely with the Welfare Department on the Covid-19 orphan cases, where they could prevent a child from being institutionalised.
She said they would like to assist in the assessment, and monitoring process, which include counselling the child, and the family of the next of kin to ensure that they are capable of caring for the child.
"In addition, we can also assist in the adoption processes if a child does not have any next of kin, or the families are not qualified to care for the child.
"Adoption will give them another opportunity to grow up in a loving, and caring family, and not be put away in an institution," she added.
Che Asmah added that OrphanCare had been carrying out adoption processes for many years, and they have a list of qualified potential adoptive parents under the guidelines of the department. The NGO itself uses its own screening tools.
Therefore she hoped the Women, Family and Community Development ministry would pay attention to this issue, and to ensure that these unfortunate children stayed in a family unit with necessary help extended to families providing care to them.
"We truly hope that the public will see how important de-institutionalisation is to the future generation of the country.
"These orphans deserve better lives, as per our tagline 'Every Child Needs A Family',” she added