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Home alone (2)

(Global Times)

15:47, November 25, 2011

Lacking parental care

More than 23 million "left-behind" children are under the age of five and may suffer from psychological disorders due to lack of parental care.

This data was released by Deng Li, head of the Department for Children at the Women's Federation, at the 2011 international symposium on early childhood development.

"The number of left-behind children under the age of five, who consist of 40.19 percent of the total, exceeds 1 million in seven provinces including Sichuan, Anhui, Henan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guizhou and Guangdong," Deng said.

A staff member at the Department for Children at the Women's Federation Sichuan office confirmed Deng's statistics to the Global Times, adding that there were more than 3 million left-behind children in Sichuan Province at the end of 2010.

"There are 2.5 million left-behind children in Anhui Province at present but we have no statistics on the number of those under the age of five," Xu Fengqin, an employee with the Department for Children at the Women's Federation Anhui office, told the Global Times.

According to Deng, the safety of children under five is not ensured if they are left behind in rural areas by parents who work in cities, and they may grow up in a poor environment with little monitoring.

But the most important problem that left-behind children face is the lack of parental care, which might cause children to experience a series of mental issues.

"Some parents may have difficulties affording the cost of living for children in the big cities and are forced to leave them in their hometown, but most are unaware of the importance of early education," Deng told the Beijing News.

Deng added that the parents of left-behind children under the age of five are usually young and will leave their children with the grandparents and seldom return home.

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