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Caring for the families of lost children

2012-12-12 11:07 Shanghai Daily     Web Editor: Wang YuXia comment

There are more than 7,000 families who have lost their only child and 16,000 one-child families with disabled children in the city, according to the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission.

Many of these couples are too old to have another child, officials said, and were looking for more social and psychological support.

At present, such families can obtain subsidies from city and district governments but the commission said city authorities are working on a policy that would offer them special medical and social welfare and a draft would be available soon for public comment.

"Such families have many requirement on how to live out their life in retirement," said Huang Hong, commission director. "The city has been studying how to care for them."

In addition to financial help, the government needs to offer more support to comfort these families, Huang said. At present, non-governmental organizations have been playing a major part in that task.

Tang Weihua, a 42-year-old mother who lost her son in 1999 when the five-year-old was abducted, worries about the future, especially as her husband was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

"Sometimes I wonder who will take care of the family if one day I'm getting too old to take care of myself," said Tang.

Tang had hired a man named Lu Shundong to work in her shop but days later he disappeared with her son. Lu is serving a life sentence but the boy was never found.

Tang said she was planning to go to a nursing home when she became too old to look after herself as she didn't want to trouble her relatives.

Across China, there are more than a million families who have lost their only child and the figure is growing by 76,000 annually, according to the Ministry of Health.

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