Baby hatches reveal incomplete children's welfare system in China

Feb. 16, 2014 at 2:34 PM
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BEIJING, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Experts say the rise of "baby hatches" in China reveal a lack of children's welfare in the country, as most infants abandoned have had severe diseases.

Twenty-five baby hatches -- safe places for parents to anonymously abandon their infants without fear of prosecution -- have been established in 10 provincial regions in China since 2011, with more being planned for another 18 regions, the China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption told China's state-run Xinhua News Agency Sunday.

"Laws emphasize prevention, while baby hatches focus on rescue after the laws are broken," said Li Bo, head of the CCCWA.

Li added that there has been no data that the hatches have increased the number of abandoned babies in China.

However, Ji Gang, another staff member of the CCCWA, said that 99 percent of babies left in hatches severe or difficult-to-treat diseases.

"It shows the lack of welfare for children," said Ji.

Parents of these children are afraid of the costs of medical bills and fees for special education, Ji said.

Tong Lihua, head of a Beijing legal aid and study center for adolescents, said the hatches are the first step in caring for abandoned babies, but China's system for children's welfare is currently incomplete.

"We need a comprehensive system to better protect them," Tong said.

The Chinese government should also step in to help families raise children with severe diseases, Tong said.

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