Vietnam's Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs has asked localities to promptly offer support to children whose parents have died of Covid-19, emphasising that a family environment is now best for them.
The move comes after Ho Chi Minh City authorities reported that more than 1,500 children had no guardians to take care of them because they lost their parents and close relatives due to Covid-19.
To ensure timely care and support for the children at this tough time, the National Committee on Children and the ministry asked localities to collect information about the orphans, their circumstances, their desires and their guardians’ opinions so that agencies could offer suitable support.
Local authorities were asked to provide the orphans with support following current regulations. Moreover, the children whose mothers had Covid-19, or those whose parents or guardians died of Covid-19, with financial difficulties will receive donations extracted from the National Fund for Vietnamese Children (NFVC).
Under the ministry’s direction, a prioritised measure is to arrange for the children to be taken care of by their relatives, or individuals or families that want to adopt them so that the children could continue to live in a family environment and have their benefits ensured.
Local authorities were also asked to cooperate with relevant agencies to offer the children legal assistance to ensure their rights and benefits, and avoid being abused when they are without their parents’ or guardians’ care.
After learning of the Covid-19 orphanage figures, Truong Gia Binh, chairman of the Hanoi-based FPT – a technology giant in Vietnam, announced that the company would establish a school to raise over 1,000 children whose parents died of Covid-19.
The school will operate for the next 20 years and FPT will commit to spending at least 80 billion dong ($3.5 million) each year on it.
Students will be trained up to college level and even higher if they want.
The urban complex FPT City Danang in the central region is set to be the location for the school including accommodation.
Regarding the issue, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Justice has issued a policy about the future care of children whose parents and close relatives have died of Covid-19.
Under the policy, ward-level People’s Committees in 21 districts and Thu Duc City have been asked to provide care and guardianship assistance to children in their localities.
If they cannot find guardians for the children, the local authority will be in charge of caring for the children.
Local authorities are also responsible for managing children’s inheritances left by the father, mother or relatives if the heirs or custodians cannot be identified.
If the legitimate heirs request their inheritance, local authorities will give it to them per the regulations of the 2005 Civil Code.
Dang Hoa Nam, director of the ministry’s Child Care and Protection Department told online newspaper dantri.com.vn that he appreciated warm-hearted actions that businessman Binh in particular and other people took to help such disadvantaged children.
Nam said that kind of support to children should be consulted by experts working in child care and protection as well as relevant agencies so that the children could benefit the most from the support.
Children who lost a parent due to the Covid-19 not only faced short-term difficulties but also long-term ones, Nam said.
“In child rights, children received the best care when they live in a family environment and are taken care of by their parents and relatives. A very special right of children is the right to live in a family environment and children develop best and most harmoniously when living in the family environment and nursed by their parents and relatives,” he said.
In case children lose their family environment (lose both parents) or cannot live with their parents, it is necessary to provide them with an alternative family so that they can be cared for by their remaining relatives or adopters.
“Bringing the children to concentrated public areas like social protection facilities or boarding schools is only the last solution when we cannot find another family for them,” Nam said.
The ministry was working with Ho Chi Minh City authorities to develop detailed plans to support the orphans whose parents or guardians had died of Covid-19, Nam said, adding that a priority is to find another family for them.
“Every support is to help the children have stable living conditions so they could continue to go to school,” he said.
Under Government’s Decrees 20/2021/ND-CP, orphans aged under 4 years old receive monthly financial support of about 900,000 dong while older children get 540,000 dong monthly.
Children whose mothers had Covid-19 or those whose parents or guardians died of Covid-19, with financial difficulties will receive two million dong each from the NFVC, as decided by labour minister Dao Ngoc Dung.
Nam added that psychological support was urgent for them at this time because of the shock they suffered when losing parents in the Covid-19 pandemic.
VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK