Children's shelter closes doors

Updated: 2014-03-18 02:58 By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou and CANG WEI in Nanjing (China Daily)

"We now have nearly 800 children, and will have to transfer about 150 children to neighboring institutions," Zhu said. "Also, we'll seek help from other welfare organizations because our equipment and staff members cannot meet the demand of so many abandoned babies."

The first temporary shelter for abandoned children was established in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, in June 2011. There are now 25 shelters nationwide, and 18 more are being planned.

Guangzhou's temporary shelter is the first to close on the mainland. With a floor space of only 7 square meters, the facility, which cost 120,000 yuan ($19,800), is equipped with baby beds and incubators.

People who leave babies there are instructed to press a button when they leave, and staff members will arrive within minutes to take care of the children.

"Many parents took their sick children to hospitals in big cities like Guangzhou and Nanjing, and then abandoned them after they could not afford the medical treatment," Zhu said. "That's the reason why Nanjing and Guangzhou have so many abandoned children."

Xu said abandoning babies and children is a violation of China's laws and regulations.

Guangzhou Social Welfare Home will seek help from police when babies are left at the temporary shelter after it has closed, Xu said.

"The shelter will reopen after relevant departments have learned from the successful experiences of other cities and improved their management standards," Ye said.

The city's civil affairs department will cooperate with the departments of health, human resources and social security to help sick babies and children who come from poor families, Ye said.

"Personally, I hope that the temporary shelter can be operated regularly to protect the lives of more children," Zhu said. "Our pressure might be eased if more shelters are opened in other cities."

Wang Zhenyao, a professor at Beijing Normal University, said the closure of Guangzhou's temporary shelter is the result of the country's poor welfare system for children.

"To this end, relevant departments should accelerate the construction of welfare homes for children and establish advanced welfare systems to help the babies and children who come from poor families," Wang said.

Wang also said large communities should establish children's welfare homes for abandoned babies.

Contact the writers at zhengcaixiong@chinadaily.com.cn and cangwei@chinadaily.com.cn



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