Strengthen child protection
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.