A few weeks ago we published the report THE CHANGE IN PERCEPTION OF SUBMITTING CHILDREN TO CHILD WELFARE INSTITUTIONS IN DENPASAR CITY. One of the conclusions of this report is that there is a modified perception of submitting children to Child Welfare Institutions in Denpasar.
This change is a secondary effect of the Bali bom. After the Bali bom people had problems to make ends meet and a number of cooping mechanisms were used to decrease expenditures. One of the ways to decrease expenditures was to submit children to orphanages (Child Welfare Institutions). After all, when a child lives in a Child Welfare Institution parents do not bear the costs of education, food, clothes and hygiene products. The summary of the full research can be found on this website, when clicking on the tab 'publications'.
When COVID-19 started to hit the world we, as foundation, decided to keep monitoring the Child Welfare Institutions that have been researched priorly for the above mentioned report. Our hypothesis is that there will be an increase in children being submitted to Child Welfare Institutions due to the current economic crisis on Bali, caused by no tourists being able to come to the island due to COVID-19.
We started to gather data in April 2020 and execute monthly checks. Till now we have gathered data in April, May, June and July 2020. We have seen a huge increase in children being submitted to Child Welfare Institutions in the last month, which makes sense as the academic year (usually paid before the COVID-19 period started) comes to an end. New school fees need to be paid, which will be hard for many families who have lost their jobs and income.
Figure 1: Children being submitted to Child Welfare Institutions in Denpasar during COVID-19.
Disclaimer: 6 children are submitted to a Child Welfare Institution in Denpasar based on the fact that they are fugitives from Myanmar. They are not submitted due to COVID-19.
This means that in the past 4 months 81 children in have been submitted to Child Welfare Institutions in Denpasar based on poverty and access to education.
A special provision in the Decree of the Minister of Social Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia NO.30/HUK/2011 is made relating to education. If the principal matter faced by the family is access to education, due to poverty, the Child Welfare Institutions are obliged to facilitate access to education by paying for tuition costs, school supplies and transportation costs. The Child Welfare Institutions are supposed to prevent the placement of children in their institutions based on the purpose of accessing education (Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia 2011, p. 33).
Before I was living with my aunt in Negara. But I could not go to school, so I was brought here so I could get education.
Wayan, 15 years old, living in a Child Welfare Institution in Denpasar.
We will continue to monitor this situation and will keep publishing results to create awareness. Once more we would like to underline that institutionalising children for the sake of access to education is not allowed by Indonesian law, though it is widely practiced. Institutionalising children when parents are alive and able to take care of the children, all be it with a financial stimulans as described by Indonesian law, should always be prioritised. Many cases of abuse in Child Welfare Institution (physical, mental and sexual) are known and should be a strong indicator to not institutionalise children.
For helping families to make sure their children can receive education while not being institutionalised, we kindly refer to Bali Children Foundation.