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January 21, 2015

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Call for stricter punishments for parents of abandoned kids

PARENTS and guardians who abandon children at hospitals should be given administrative or criminal punishments, the Shanghai Women’s Federation said yesterday.

Between 2009 and 2013, 144 children were abandoned at 10 local hospitals. Of those, 14 were found to have at least one parent from Shanghai, 61 were the offspring of migrant workers, and 69 were of unknown lineage. Eleven abandoned children are currently living in the city’s hospitals.

There are many reasons why children end up being abandoned, an official said.

Some are left at hospitals because their parents can no longer afford to care for them; others because they were unexpected, the person said.

To help tackle the problem, the federation said parents who leave their children at hospital should be obliged to leave copies of their identity cards. Hospital officials should also contact police to alert them to the case.

For their part, police should seek to educate parents, and also consider introducing punishments for those who abandon their children.

Armed with ID card information, police should be able to trace the parents and return their children to them. For a first or second offense, parents should be given an administrative penalty, but if they get caught a third time they should face criminal action.

An employee at a children’s hospital said that while they record the parents’ names, addresses and phone numbers, they cannot force people to show their identity cards.

In August last year, two children who had been abandoned at different hospitals were reunited with their families after a six-month operation involving police, the courts, women’s federation and the civil affairs bureau.

In one case, a little girl known as Alimu, who had spent the first 30 months of her life at Shanghai Children’s Hospital, returned home to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to live with her grandfather.


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