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Stipends paid to 253,000 unattended children

By ZHAO XINYING | China Daily | Updated: 2021-01-26 08:57

More than 253,000 unattended children in China had received living stipends by the end of last year, a civil affairs official said on Monday.

Each of the children, whose parents were absent and unable to take care of them for various reasons, received a monthly subsidy of 1,140 yuan ($176), said Ni Chunxia, deputy director of the Ministry of Civil Affairs' child welfare department.

The measure was taken after 12 ministries and departments, including the Ministry of Civil Affairs, published a notice on strengthening the protection of de facto unattended children, which came into effect in January last year, she said.

"On that basis, some provinces and cities further developed their own policies and approaches to help these children," Ni said. Beijing and Chongqing, for example, brought the children into an education support plan, making sure that they could continue to receive financial support from the local government even after they entered college.

Statistics from the national child welfare information system showed that about 45 percent of the unattended children had lost one parent, with the other parent either severely disabled or missing.

About 27 percent had a pair of severely disabled parents, while 8 percent had one parent in prison.

To make sure government policies can cover more children who need care, Ni said the Ministry of Civil Affairs joined hands with the ministries of public security and finance at the end of last year and issued a notice on further helping such children.

In the notice, two other types of children were granted access to help and care from the government: those whose parents were disqualified as guardians and those whose parents had been expelled or deported to other countries.

In addition, the ministry also paid attention to children who lost their parents' guardianship due to emergencies, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, Ni said.

A notice released by the ministry and eight other ministries and commissions recently stipulated that civil affair departments will be responsible for taking care of children whose parents or other guardians are absent due to medical treatment, observation or detention.

The departments will also look after children whose parents are unable to do so because they are fully occupied with dealing with emergencies, the notice said.

"In the meantime, we call on people from all walks of life to pay attention to teenagers in emergencies … and help them get out of danger and receive help and support," Ni said.

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