Baby Hatches

17 Mar

Baby hatches, or baby safety islands as they are known in mandarin, are spaces where parents can safely and anonymously abandon their children, rather than leaving them on the street. They allow the parent to drop the child in a temperature controlled room with a crib and an incubator. When they leave an alarm sounds and a welfare center care worker will come and collect the child. Chinas center for children’s welfare and adoption recognises 23 baby hatches across 10 provinces. Last July the minister of civil affairs announced that the scheme would expand to another 18 provinces and big cities by the end of 2015.

Abandoning children in this way is illegal in china and some critics believe that these centers encourage this activity. However the general consensus is that these facilities are sadly a necessity and that more should be done to protect the welfare of these children. There is no evidence to suggest that the opening of these facilities has increased the number of abandoned children. The purpose of these facilities is not to prevent the law being broken or punish those that do. It’s there to care for the children who should not be left to suffer.

More than 260 children have been left in the Guangzhou baby hatch in South China, since the 28th of January. This has meant that the welfare center has been forced to close its doors to new children but will continue to care for the ones that have already been accepted. The facility has 1,000 bed and currently 1,121 babies and young people. Another 1,274 are in the care of foster families. All infants have diseases which range from cerebral palsy to downs syndrome. It is thought that many poor parents feel they have no choice but to abandon these children as they can’t afford the expensive medical fees. It has been emphasised that just because the service is temporarily closing its doors, does not mean that it’s a failed venture. Those involved urge the public not to be pessimistic and that this baby hatch is still in its experimental stage. This strong influx of children is being treated as an anomaly, as the first baby hatch opened 3 years ago in Shijiazhuang and has received 181 children so far. This case far exceeded the numbers that other cities received during their pilot periods

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-26607505

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-26607616

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/17/china-baby-hatch-suspended-parents-abandon-infants

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2 Responses to “Baby Hatches”

  1. stephensloan94 March 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    This just shows one of the many impacts that the one child policy has on China socially. It also ties in with Chinas culture of male dominance. If a couple have a baby girl the temptation to abandon the baby and try for a boy is great. The one child policy causes abandonment because couples cannot try again without ‘getting rid’ of their child. But asides from the one child policy, it shows a failing in child welfare and social security in Chinese government policy.

  2. jw8g12 March 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    This is a very interesting and well written article. I find it so hard to believe that something like this could be illegal by law yet is actually in common practice across all the different provinces. Although this is a very bad way of dealing with the issue of an unwanted child, it is well known that this is a major issue, and not just in China, and in a way this is an effective and safe way of dealing with it.

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