"We continue to urge regional governments to facilitate social rehabilitation and provide foster families for orphans instead of placing them in orphanages," Sirait stated during a webinar on the protection of children affected by COVID-19 in Jakarta on Thursday.
Sirait noted that foster families were essential to restore confidence and improve the lives of children, who lost their parents in the pandemic. Orphan care by foster families will reduce the risk of orphans being exposed or exploited in crimes against children, such as child trafficking, sexual slavery, economic exploitation, and other violations.
Sirait informed that his institution had estimated 23,767 Indonesian children were orphaned after losing either or both their parents to COVID-19.
"It means those 23,767 children are now without parental nurturing and at risk of being abandoned," he stated.
He informed that the 23 thousand children orphaned by the COVID-19 pandemic would add to Indonesia’s currently recorded figure of 4.1 million, according to the Social Ministry's data.
Sirait urged regional governments to provide foster families for protecting orphans. The authority should set a standard and criterion to determine eligible foster families to care for orphans, he added.
"Assessment for foster families is important. The regional government should monitor all steps necessary to seek eligible foster families and arrange social rehabilitation for orphans. The authority should also provide financial stimulus to foster families to ensure that the orphan is nurtured and protected properly by its new family," Sirait stated.
Related news: Parents urged to prepare disabled children for independent living
Related news: Local govts asked to offer services for violence, trafficking victims
Related news: KPAI presses for improvement on child care issues