The State Council on June 16 issued a guideline for reinforcing support for children in need.
According to the guideline, children in need include those from poverty-stricken families who suffer difficulties in living, schooling or seeking medical treatments. It also refers to disabled children who are difficult to take care of and will have more difficulty being integrated into society. It also includes abused children and those threatened as a result of not living with a parent.
The document is aimed at setting up a support system for children in need with family, government and society fulfilling their responsibilities.
In achieving this goal, the guideline first specifies rules to ensure basic living conditions for children in need. Children who don’t have a legal guardian are classified as orphans; children under the age of 16 who have no ability to work, no source of income or their legal guardians are not competent to make a living are classified as extremely poor. Related aid and relief should be provided or improved for those vulnerable groups, said the document.
The guideline then urged increasing the reimbursement rates for basic medical insurance and critical illness insurance for children who suffer from serious disease or are severely disabled. It also called for implementing an education assistance policy and the “two exemptions and one subsidy” - exemption from miscellaneous fees and textbook fees in addition to subsidized living expenses during compulsory education age for children from poverty-stricken families. In addition, it vows to provide 12 years of free education for disabled children from poor families.
Moreover, it called for imposing liability on the guardians of children. Those who lost their parents, or who cannot find their parents will be settled as if for orphans, with relatives and institutions serving as foster homes, and entrusted to homecare or adopted. Children whose parents are not competent as guardians and with no other guardians will be fostered by child welfare institutions.
The guideline then urged strengthening welfare services for disabled children. It called for establishing a rehabilitation assistance system for physically disabled children or autistic children up to 6 years old, which can gradually provide rehabilitation training service and free treatment for children.
To implement these goals, the guideline called on forming a three-tier working network consisting of county, town and village as well as a coordinated mechanism between different government departments, including civil administration, health and family planning, education and human resources and social security. It also encouraged wide participation from social powers such as social workers and volunteers to provide more multiple assistance sources and services for children in need.