Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

A genuine move to help left-behind children

By Guan Xinping (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-19 08:15

Providing proper care and protection for the left-behind children is a large-scale and long-term endeavor that requires a huge amount of resources. To effectively implement such a project, the authorities should make scientific planning and arrangements, and get a clear idea about the actual situations that the left-behind children live in.

The population of the left-behind children in China is huge. They are scattered across the country. True, some research organizations have done some sample surveys of the left-behind children in the past. But they have only drawn deductive conclusions without offering a clear picture of the specific situations in which the left-behind children live.

In this regard, the three ministries' nationwide survey will not only present a clear picture of the real situations the left-behind children have to live in different regions, but can also reveal their specific individual conditions. The survey could thus offer the basis for making decisions both at the national and local levels.

Although it is not difficult to conduct a national survey on the left-behind children, local authorities can ensure the results are accurate by helping the process with their inputs and efficient work. And after the completion of the general survey, the central and local authorities should analyze the actual difficulties and needs of the left-behind children and devise specific action plans to help them, including targeted services for key groups and key areas, setting up mechanisms and regulations, investing resources and evaluating the processes based on actual situations.

One of the most important steps would be to establish a specific working system that enables social workers to play their role in the process, and providing the necessary funds for this work.

Moreover, care and protection services for the left-behind children work should be combined with the rural social welfare and rural social and economic development. Also, solving the left-behind children problem should be linked to the protection of migrant workers' rights and interests in urban areas.

Only when city authorities allow migrant workers to become permanent urban residents and enjoy all social welfare services can left-behind children's problems be truly solved.

The author is a professor at the Institute of Social Development and Administration, Nankai University, Tianjin.

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