China issues guideline to strengthen care for de facto orphans
BEIJING, July 10 (Xinhua) -- China on Wednesday issued its first guideline to strengthen the work of protecting and supporting de facto orphans.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs announced the guideline, jointly issued by 12 government agencies, at a press conference.
According to the guideline, de facto orphans are children whose parents are under one of the following conditions: severe disabilities or illness, serving sentences in jail or under detention, in compulsory isolation for drug rehabilitation or restriction of personal freedom, or cannot be contacted.
If only one of a child's parents is under the aforementioned conditions and the other parent is dead or missing, the child can be identified as a de facto orphan.
China has around 500,000 de facto orphans.
The guideline also regulates the specific procedures for identifying de facto orphans.
Several key aspects are highlighted in the guideline to guarantee the orphans' basic living standards, medical care and rehabilitation, educational assistance, guardianship and care services.
For those who have the ability to raise their children but shirk their duties, the guideline specifies that civil affairs authorities have the right to demand child support payments from parents by law.
The guideline also proposes establishing credit appraisal systems and punishing and warning mechanisms to avoid violations such as malevolent abandonment of children and gaining subsidies, property or services by cheating.