The founder of our foundation, Rodney Westerlaken, will defend his PhD research at Udayana University on the 6th of May. The results of the research, which will be published on this website after the 6th, could not be more relevant now due to the corona virus.
In his research Rodney Westerlaken proofs a causality between the high number of children being submitted to Child Welfare Institutions in Denpasar city after the Bali Bom (2002-2005) crisis till 2016. Parents submitted their children to Child Welfare Institutions as a coping mechanism, to reduce costs for food, education, hygiene products and clothes. Due to easy submission procedures and recruiting in underprivileged villages by Child Welfare Institutions submission to Child Welfare Institutions became common practice. Research shows that Child Welfare Institutions have variant motives such as spreading religion or even financial gain.
The Indonesian Law on Child Protection is strong and goes beyond the UN convention of the rights of the child. According to the Indonesian Law orphanages should not exist in the forms as they mainly exist now. Yet, there are almost 40 orphanages operating legal and illegally in Denpasar only.
Right now COVID-19 causes similar effects on Bali as after the Bali Bom. No tourists are arriving on the island and we do not know how long this situation will last.
The first case of a baby dumped reached the media yesterday. Motives are unknown, as the parents are unknown, but this could be a desperate act as a result of desperation that fills the Balinese mind due to COVID-19. We received the first reports of children being submitted to Child Welfare Institutions due to a lack of finances in Denpasar.
We will continue to monitor this situation. The solution of separation between parents and child should be prohibited at any time. The best place in almost all circumstances, also according to the Indonesian law, is with the parents.