Strengthen child pro­tec­tion

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

Fol­low­ing a se­ries of high-pro­file child abuse and ne­glect cases in re­cent years and the deaths of chil­dren in care, there have been grow­ing con­cerns about the well-be­ing of chil­dren re­moved from the cus­tody of their par­ents and calls for a more com­pre­hen­sive sys­tem to pro­tect chil­dren.

Ef­forts are be­ing made to­ward this goal and re­lated reg­u­la­tions will be rolled out by the end of the year. Those con­cerned should en­sure that a com­pre­hen­sive State child pro­tec­tion and cus­tody sys­tem be es­tab­lished that can ef­fec­tively pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble mi­nors, said a com­men­tary in Bei­jing News on Wed­nes­day.

The ex­ist­ing laws in China do al­low for abu­sive or neg­li­gent par­ents to be de­prived of their cus­tody rights, but they do not in­clude de­tails on im­ple­men­ta­tion. The mal­treat­ment of chil­dren usu­ally takes place in the home, so it can be highly “elu­sive”. That is why in many coun­tries, civil ser­vants, teach­ers and doc­tors are man­dated to re­port any sus­pected mis­treat­ment of chil­dren.

Like­wise, re­port­ing should be the first stage of in­ter­ven­tion in China, and it must be fol­lowed by in­ves­ti­ga­tion and ver­i­fi­ca­tion, lit­i­ga­tion and other fol­low-up re­me­dial mea­sures.

Given the loop­holes in the coun­try’s cur­rent com­mu­nity pro­tec­tion and fos­ter home sys­tem, kinder­gartens per­haps can play a bet­ter role in car­ing for young­sters who are in the process of seek­ing new guardian­ship, for which the govern­ment should pro­vide both pol­icy and fi­nan­cial sup­port.

The es­tab­lish­ment of an ef­fec­tive na­tional child cus­tody and in­ter­ven­tion sys­tem will not be com­pleted overnight. It re­quires top-level in­sti­tu­tional de­sign, and lo­cal gov­ern­ments will have to ful­fill their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as stip­u­lated by the forth­com­ing by­laws.

Only if all par­ties in­volved demon­strate the nec­es­sary sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity will we be able to pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren.

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