This 14th of February, China’s State Council issued a document entitled “Opinions on Reinforcing the Efforts to Protect and Take Care of ‘Left-Behind’ Children in Rural Areas”. The document calls for the establishment of a system for the protection and care of “left-behind children”. It is expected that by 2020 China will improve its laws and regulations regarding child protection and there will be a significant improvement of social awareness in this field. As a result the number of “left-behind children” will reduce and there will be an improved environment for children to grow up in.
The document specifies the responsibilities of families, governments, schools and social groups. In particular, those below the age of 16 should not live alone without any guardianship, and it is suggested that parents take their children to where their work, leave one parent at home, or ask their relatives and other eligible adults to do the job once they leave. Local village committees and schools should shoulder their bit of responsibility through measures such as mandatory registration, reporting, crisis management and giving assistance. The government will provide assistance too, as well as purchasing professional services from institutions and social organizations. Social groups are also highly encouraged to help take care of “left-behind” children by making use of their specific capabilities.