Opinion / From the Press

Protecting vagrant children not mission impossible

( Updated: 2012-11-23 21:11

Helping vagrant kids is not an impossible task if authorities are committed to fulfilling their responsibilities and putting better regulation into practice, said an article in the Beijing News. Excerpts:

Following the tragic death of five street boys from carbon monoxide poisoning after lighting a fire to fight the cold in a dumpster in Bijie, Guizhou province, local authorities have launched mechanisms to rescue runaway children, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Meanwhile, inspections have also been enhanced to locate students who drop out of school during the compulsory education period.

The goal is to make sure that every children of eligible age receives and finishes compulsory education.

Though the country has taken action to build up a protection system for vagrant juveniles, the results are far from satisfying, with quite a number of children roaming the streets, especially during winter.

The number of juvenile rescue and care centers is very limited, and only in a few cities.

There’s a need to include the building and management of juvenile centers as one of the criteria of the local governments’ performance, with the purpose of intensifying the responsibility of officials at all levels.

More rescue sites are needed in streets and local communities, and clearer road signs should be located in main streets.

Also, a national inspection system is needed to search for left-behind children, handicapped students, and those quitting schools, to achieve information sharing, and to facilitate coordinated measures around the country.

Yet, even a sophisticated rescue mechanism cannot tackle the plight of runaway children from the root. Most of them have to live on the streets because of poverty.

Some families cannot afford basic products and provide a suitable environment for their children. It is poverty that forces those children to stop going to school. It is also because of the shock at a huge disparity of wealth that some children give up on themselves and are in despair when going into the city life.

We need to make every effort in wiping out poverty and help those who are badly marginalized, to bridge the wealth gap so that the sprawl of vagrant kids can be curbed.

Translated by Dong Fangyu

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