China / Society

Regulation sets out requirements for foster families

By WANG QIAN ( Updated: 2014-09-26 20:52

Foster families for abandoned children with disabilities are required to live in communities with medical care, special education and rehabilitation facilities, according to a new regulation.

The regulation on foster family management was released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Friday and will take effect on Dec 1. It is widely viewed as a further move to protect children's welfare, Chen Rifa, spokesman of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said at a news conference on Friday.

Xu Jianzhong, deputy director of the social welfare and donations department of the ministry, said that the new regulation will further guarantee the rights of abandoned children, helping them to become a part of the family and society.

"Compared with the current regulation taking effect in 2004, the new regulation sets up stricter standards for qualification," Xu said.

The regulation said foster parents will be assessed through a five-step procedure before becoming qualified for fostering children and they will receive training after the assessment.

According to the regulation, children with severe disabilities are not suitable for foster homes and they will receive professional medical treatment and rehabilitation training in child welfare organizations.

Besides elaborating on requirements of foster families for disabled children, the regulation emphasized that children's welfare institutions should end custodial rights of foster parents if the family was found to exploit the child to raise money.

Foster families cannot discriminate or abuse the child, or foster parents will face harsher punishment, including criminal penalties.

Applicants must have no history of mental or epidemic illness, a stable income and living conditions. Foster parents should be aged between 30 and 65 and with a minimum education background of junior high school, the regulation said.

The regulation also said each home can foster no more than two children.

Xu said besides orphans and children whose parents cannot be traced, homeless children including beggars under 18 years old are also included in the abandoned children.

According to Ministry of Civil Affairs, about 30,000 abandoned children are in foster homes nationwide.

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