In City, one child is abandoned every month

Majority of them are female

In City, one child is abandoned every month

The City is witness to at least one instance of a child being abandoned every month, despite a series of awareness programmes by NGOs and the State government.

Many NGOs which find such children attempt to track down the parents — an often fruitless attempt with just one per cent success rate, as one source pointed out. As Subramani, the coordinator of the Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA), said, “It is always a difficult task to trace the parents of the abandoned child.

An abandoned child is clearly unwanted. Nevertheless, once we receive a complaint about a child being abandoned, we try locating the mother or the family with the help of police.”

There are various reasons leading to the abandonment of children. The child might be the result of an extramarital affair, divorce, dowry harassment or a deep-rooted prejudice towards female children. Hospitals, parks, temples and theaters are common places where newborns are abandoned, a source explained.

But as Manish Goyal, an administrator at a private hospital, explained, the abandonment of newborns in hospitals can be stopped by taking precautions. “If the hospital makes an extra effort to verify the name and the address provided by the patient at the time of delivery, through an accepted document showing proof of address, the abandoned baby can be traced back to its parents,” he said.

The recent abandonment of girl at a private hospital highlights the added component of “gender” which is common to most of these cases. According to figures provided by Bosco Childline, of the 15 children found abandoned in the City since January, most are girls.

Poverty main reason

“Most of the female babies abandoned are done so by rural women because of two primary reasons — poverty or persecution from the husband or the family for giving birth to a girl child. There is no idea of how many female babies are still being killed in rural areas,” Jennifer, a coordinator of the Bosco Childline, said.

In the event that an abandoned child is reported to the Childline, the organisation immediately informs the police and child welfare committee, she explained. “If the child is not claimed by parents or if they are not found within 30 days from the day of registering complaint, then the child is handed over to an NGO for foster care.

If anyone willingly comes forward to adopt the child, we check their credibility and complete the formalities required for adoption. There are 160 applications pending for adoption in the City,” she said.

Older children too

Sources explained that not only newborns but also older children, often within the age group of four to five, suffer abandonments. Most are turned destitute following the suicides of their parents or when their families become unable to feed them.

Such children are mostly found in railway stations and bus stations as parents bring their children from different states and towns, as it is easier to desert them in these places.

“If these deserted children are lucky, they will be reported to the childline or police,” a source said. “If not, they could fall into the hands of traffickers or people who will eventually use them as domestic helpers.”

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