A Critical Analysis of the Recent Developments in Alternative Care Space Across South Asia Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis

Kiran Modi, Gurneet Kalra, Leena Prasad, Rajeshwari Narsimha, Jyoti Singh

In many situations of conflicts, natural disasters, or pandemics, it is always the children who are the most vulnerable. With the world shutting down due to the invisible threat to civilisation, the most affected are the children living in alternative care settings and the children who are on possible verge of family breakdown and ending up in institutions. Their limited knowledge and lack of independence often results in an increased exposure to several risk factors such as abuse, maltreatment, deprivations, and violations This paper aims at focusing on the recent developments in policies and arrangements in the alternative care space in the South Asian countries, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the study is to understand the impact of COVID-19 on alternative care space in South Asian countries, its effect on the children living in alternative care, and to understand the measures taken by respective governments in these countries to support them during the pandemic. An assessment of the recent developments in the policies related to alternative care space in different countries is crucial for understanding the problems faced when dealing with children in institutional care as well as the impact on the de-institutionalisation process due to COVID-19. This paper is a secondary review of desk research on such developments to understand the possible post-COVID-19 impacts on functionary and regulatory changes in alternative care systems for ‘Children without Parental Care’ in the South Asian region.