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Care for kids left behind

China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-12 07:12

Drowning is the main cause of accidental deaths of children up to the age of 14 in rural areas and this can mainly be attributed to the lack of adult supervision.

Without the guardianship of their parents, the children left behind in rural areas are at a greater risk of an accident and prone to developing psychological problems. And there are instances of some quitting school and becoming vagabonds or even becoming involved with criminal gangs.

With their parents working away from home, mostly in cities far away, whether they can grow up in a safe and healthy manner is of great concern, not just to themselves but also to the country.

Given the number of left-behind rural children now stands at more than 61 million, almost 22 percent of the total child population, the country cannot afford to sweep the issue under the carpet.

A survey conducted the by the All-China Women's Federation found that 53.3 percent of left-behind children are cared for by a single parent, 32.7 percent by their grandparents and 10.7 percent by relatives. The most worrying is that 2.05 million of the left-behind rural children live by themselves without the guardianship of any adults.

This is not the first time the federation has conducted such a survey, and along with the surveys, the federation always calls for the involvement of local governments in providing care for the well-being of these minors.

Their failure in education means one in five of the country's young people in the near future will have difficulty participating in or contributing to its economic development and social progress.

The Ministry of Education has released a document about education for this group of disadvantaged children. But that is far from enough.

There must be real integration of rural migrant workers into cities so their children can join them. Some local governments have already experimented with registering villagers-turned-workers as urban residents, but such moves need to be accelerated.

Yet before this happens and the left-behind are able to join their parents, local town and county governments should make detailed arrangements to make up for the lack of parental care, especially for those children who live by themselves.

(China Daily 08/12/2013 page8)

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