After the Disaster: What the Government Will Do for The Sake of Surviving Children?

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After the Disaster: What the Government Will Do for The Sake of Surviving Children?

Post by wardleld on Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:41 am

After the Disaster: What the Government Will Do for The Sake of Surviving Children?

  As of the end of August 2011, it was reported that at least 1,295 children have lost one of their parents and 234 have lost both due to the earthquake and tsunami disaster of March 2011. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) of the national government has decided to introduce several measures to protect the interests of these surviving and orphaned children.
First, the MHLW expanded the availability of kinship foster care for orphaned children. Most of these children live with their relatives, for example, their grandparent’s, uncle’s or aunt’s families, according to a MHLW investigation. However, the relative families may have difficulties in caring of the children personally and financially because most of them are also the victims of the disaster. Since right after the disaster, the MHLW has been encouraging the relatives to become kinship foster families in order to ease their economic difficulties through foster care payments. In addition, the MHLW has recently decided to relax the age requirement for placement of a child. According to the current law, a child must be under 18 years of age when s/he is placed in foster care. However, the special rule introduced this year provides that a victim child is eligible to be under foster care by his/her relatives even after s/he reaches at 18 years of age (The Kyodo News, August 23, 2011).
Second, the MHLW has decided to establish “Child Support Centres” in the stricken area - Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures, which will provide surviving but orphaned children with professional mental health care. It is predicted that more and more children will show their emotional difficulties due to trauma of losing their parents or tremendous environmental changes caused by the disaster. While mental health professionals in Tokyo and other cities have been invited to the devastated areas in order to provide counselling to children, demands for such service have already exceeded supply. Child Support Centres will become important resources for the children in need of stable and long-term mental health support (See The Iwate Nippo, September 8, 2011).

Smiley (aharada@aoni.waseda.jp)
12 September 2011

wardleld

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