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December 5, 2013

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Girls go missing, center shut down

An unlicensed after-school care center in Minhang District was shut down yesterday after two kids went missing on Tuesday.

The “Baby’s Home” care center operated out of a room rented from an art school on Qinchun Road.

None of the “teachers” were qualified or had certificates in dealing with children.

Two girls, aged four and three, were picked up from their kindergartens in Xinzhuang Town by staff workers of the center on Tuesday afternoon. They went missing later.

Police and parents found them in a tea house about 3 kilometers from the center after searching for them for over two hours.

One of the girls said she walked out quietly, while the other one said she missed her mother and followed her out.

The Minhang District Education Bureau has ordered the center to refund money to the parents. One of the parents said the center operated till 7:30pm daily and had eight kids. The fees was 660 yuan (US$106) for a month.

Private after-school care centers are prospering because working parents can’t leave work when their children finish kindergarten or primary school.

A large number of care centers are cashing in on the demand. Most of them operate without a license and charge between several hundred to several thousand yuan.

“I can not leave work to pick up my child and therefore I have to trust these centers,” the parent of a primary school student, surnamed Wang, said.

Wang said the center she sends her child to is operated by a retired teacher, who rents an apartment, provides meal and helps with studies.

Schools which provide such care usually close at 4:30pm but these centers stay open till 7pm to 8pm, she said.



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