First provincial-level child welfare and childcare division founded in Beijing

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On December 20th the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs announced the establishment of the first child welfare and childcare division under the provincial Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs at the press conference. The responsibilities of the newly-founded division include child welfare, child adoption and care for left-behind children and children in difficulty, which were previously taken charge of by several separate divisions. The current plan is to create a complete child protection system through integration and coordination.

In future the newly established division will cooperate with the social aid division, the community construction division, the community administration office, the philanthropy administration division, the social aid affairs center, the standardization and informatization division and the statistics-checking center. They will also explore how to expand this model to the outlying areas in Beijing municipality, outside the city proper.

According to the guidelines for enhancing care for left-behind children and children in difficulty issued by the Beijing government, the division will work on systematic care for children in difficulty through policies and funding, forming a framework for childcare, and encouraging social engagement in child welfare and childcare.

A series of recent child abuse incidents in kindergartens (including the “red yellow blue“ kindergarten in Chaoyang district and the Ctrip Kindergarten in Shanghai) have raised public awareness on the significance and urgency of child rights protection. During the period of the 11th and 12th five year plans, Beijing expanded its child welfare system by adding children in difficulty, while in the past only orphans and disabled kids were considered.

Throughout the 13th five year plan period, Beijing has been further developing its child welfare system. By now five major areas, including basic living conditions, medical care, education and training, accommodation and employment and the housing supply are covered. The infrastructure for childcare is also improving, with a well-structured service network, more functional institutes, more professional teams and better-organized carers.

Additionally, Beijing is complementing its childcare scheme with guidelines and a joint conference system led by one of the city’s vice-mayors. The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs has announced its intention to keep working to make progress in constructing a system for securing the welfare of orphans and abandoned children, caring for children in difficulty, left-behind children, street children and rescuing abducted children.

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