Orphan protection a top priority in child welfare

By Maverick Chen
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China.org.cn, October 25, 2010
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Premier Wen Jiabao approved a new policy Oct. 12 that will help strengthen the protection of orphans, the latest in a string of efforts in the past few years to provide support for the children. The central government will spend 2.5 billion yuan (US$374.8 million) next year on orphan protection, the first time the central government has appropriate funds to the issue.

Kirsten di Martio, Chief of Child Protection, in UNICEF China speaks at the forum in Beijing Normal University on Friday, October 22, 2010. [Maverick Chen / China.org.cn] 

The policy also stipulates that governments at all levels should ensure the basic living standard of orphans is no lower than the minimum average living standard.

The number of orphans in China has grown by almost a quarter since 2005, to 712,000.

The policy is being hailed by international children's rights groups, represented by UNICEF. Kirsten di Martino, UNICEF's chief of Child Rights in China, said the policy would "bring a great milestone and breakthrough to establish comprehensive child protection in China in the future." UNICEF also said it would be an effective example for other countries in the Asian-Pacific region to follow.

"We need to establish an effective implementation system, the system to deliver and monitor the cash transfer to the most vulnerable," di Martino said. "We need to strengthen the human resources and the financial delivery system."

Transferring funds, especially charity donations, to orphans remains a pressing issue, especially in rural areas.

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