China / Society

Child welfare services should help families of disabled kids

By Xu Wei ( Updated: 2015-07-10 19:17

The country's child welfare institutes should open their services to families with disabled children to reduce their burdens and the number of abandoned newborns, said experts.

China had a total of 8.17 million children with disabilities, and a large number of them are not able to receive rehabilitation measures due to lack of social support, said GaoYurong, director of the children welfare research center at the China Philanthropy Research Institute and a former official with the Ministry of Civil Affair.

"If we can open the services of child welfare institutes to the families, the children will receive much better rehabilitation measure due their early age," she said in a seminar on the caring of children with disabilities in Beijing on Friday.

Gao said the most effective period for the disabled children to receive the rehabilitation is between one and six years old, and the chance of recovery gets much lower as the children get older.

"For a long period of time, the caring of disabled children lies solely on the families, and many parents are totally at loss when they find out that their children have birth defects," she said.

Gao said the measure to open up the child welfare institutes would also help reduce the number of abandoned newborns.

"Many parents chose to abandon their children with birth defects due to the huge financial burden that comes with the rehabilitation of the children," she said.

The country had a total of 545 public child welfare institutes as of 2014, with a total of 94,000 adopted children, 90 percent of whom had birth defects, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Guo Dehua, deputy secretary general of China Association of Persons with Psychiatric Disability and their Relatives, said that opening up the children welfare institute is also an international trend.

"It will also enable the children with disabilities to receive the rehabilitation at their homes and with the company of their parents," he said.

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