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Chinese counties lack child welfare agencies: official


10:41, January 10, 2013

BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Government-funded child welfare agencies have been established in only a minority of China's county-level regions, an official with the Ministry of Civil Affairs has revealed.

Only 64 such agencies are available in counties across the country, the unidentified official told Xinhua on Wednesday.

The comments come with many orphans potentially facing transfers from privately operated orphanages to state-backed institutions. The ministry on Sunday announced a month-long nationwide inspection of orphanages run by individuals and private operators after a fatal fire at one such operation in central China's Henan Province.

If these orphanages do not meet the requirements of accommodating orphans, the children should be sent to child welfare agencies, a statement issued by the ministry said.

According to statistics provided by the ministry, China has some 615,000 orphans although the figure fluctuates each year.

Around 109,000 of these orphans live in government-funded agencies, with the rest being fostered by relatives or private orphanages.

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