Joint action to ensure safety of Tsunami affected children

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 January 2005, 11:11 GMT]
The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children Sri Lanka (SCiSL) are working together to ensure safety for children who survived last week Tsunami disaster, from violence, exploitation and abuse, said in a joint press release issued by UNICEF and SCiSL Thursday.

The full text of press release follows: -

Many of the children who survived last week's lethal earthquake and tsunami were separated from their families and caregivers. The Government of Sri Lanka, UNICEF and Save the Children Sri Lanka (SCiSL) are working together closely to ensure that these children remain in safe environments, protected from violence, exploitation and abuse.

The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), Dept of Probation and Childcare, UNICEF and SciSL have mobilised teams to identify and register all unaccompanied and separated children. Joint teams are identifying children living in temporary camps for the displaced as a priority. They will then be working with communities to identify and register all children who have been separated from their immediate families.

The agencies are asking communities to contact any of the above agencies at their local offices, with information on separated children within their communities.

The teams will be tracing the children's closest relatives, in order to reunify them as quickly as possible. If relatives cannot be found, Probation Officers will make comprehensive assessments to plan for the best possible care. Options include fostering, adoption or, as a last resort, a home for children. The agencies stress that children will not be considered for adoption during the emergency phase, and until every opportunity to locate family members is exhausted. Adoption is a lengthy process and takes many months; the relevant authority for this is the DPCC.

Family members or others who are caring for children who have lost their parents should register with the Divisional Secretary or the Department of Probation and Child Care (DPCC). Even if children are being cared for they should register the children so that tracing of their family can be activated for the child in the case of children whose parents have died other family members will be traced.

Parents and other family members who have lost children should go to any of the following agencies to register details of their child: District Child Protection Committees, Department of Probation and Child Care, Save the Children Sri Lanka or UNICEF.

 

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