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Home alone (3)

(Global Times)

15:47, November 25, 2011

Possible solutions

Zhang Xuying, a researcher with the China Population and Development Research Center at the National Population and Family Planning Commission, told the Global Times that since 1990 an increasing number of rural citizens are migrating to cities for work, which has led to a large population of left-behind children.

"The primary reason parents leave their children behind is they do not have enough money," said Zhang. "They don't have a house in the city to raise their children, and don't have any spare time because they need to work overtime and earn money."

According to Zhang, city governments offer few public services to migrants and their children. For example, hospital expenses for migrant workers are high because they are not provided with health insurance.

"Only when more public services are provided for migrant workers will they be able to support their children in the cities," Zhang told the Global Times.

"The rural governments can establish boarding schools to facilitate communication between left-behind children and their parents, as well as offer medical guidance to ensure they are sound in mind and body," said Zhang Xuying.

According to Xu, the Anhui authorities offered some services to left-behind children in their hometowns. For instance, more telephones have been installed so that children can call parents free of charge. The government also provides books and sports equipment for children to ensure they stay physically and psychologically healthy.

"We also dispatch university student volunteers to counsel left-behind children," said Xu.

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