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The Ministry of Health and Welfare Urges More Concern for Young Children in Order to Give Them the Opportunity to be Helped.

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2014-07-07
  • Last Updated:2017-01-11

The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) has urged the public to show more concern for their loved ones after the regrettable case of a one-year-old child who was suspected to have died of starvation in Taoyuan County on July 7. Families – especially those with children under six years old who have not entered school or are still in childcare – need to promptly show concern and, when necessary, request assistance from the government or protection for the children. 

The MOHW is deeply saddened by the case of a one-year-old child whose death was suspected to be the result of neglect by the victim’s mother. The MOHW points out that single-parent households, unemployment, mental and physical illnesses, social isolation, spending long hours at Internet cafes, and so on, are also risk factors that contribute to children not receiving proper care. If young children are not in school or childcare, the government and society has trouble identifying children who are being severely neglected or abused. It hopes children’s loved ones will show more concern and give these children a chance to be seen and helped. Should you discover any young child who is often left alone at home and where the home environment shows elements of danger, or where a child is significantly underweight, besides expressing your concerns directly, please dial the protection hotline, 113, or contact the Department of Social Affairs in your area directly so that the local government can proceed with tracking visits. 

The MOHW’s Department of Protective Services chief, Chang Hsiu-yuan, explains that ‘neglect’ is also a form of physical and psychological abuse. Severe neglect could impair the growth and development of a child, and could even result in a child’s death. This is a violation of the relevant provisions of the Protection of Children and Youths’ Welfare and Rights Act. If a young child is left alone at home and appropriate care or protection is not provided, this is in violation of Article 51 of the same Act that states children should not be left alone at home, and the government may impose a fine of between NT$3,000 and NT$15,000. In serious cases, offenders may be ordered to accept between eight and 50 hours of parental education. Parents should be careful and do their utmost in monitoring and protecting their children. 

The MOHW states that according to the Protection of Children and Youths’ Welfare and Rights Act, personnel such as medical and educare professionals with easy access to children under six years old have a statutory duty to report cases of abuse. In the course of their duties, they should be more vigilant if they come across children who, compared to their peers, are emaciated not due to illness, or whose bodies bear scars from suspected abuse, and should report such cases when necessary. During professional training courses, medical and educare personnel should also actively advocate education and training for child protection so as not to miss those golden opportunities to rescue needy children.