South Korea: Penniless parents dumping children as economy

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 29 Nov 1998 19:06:01 -0400


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http://www.smh.com.au:80/news/9811/26/text/pageone10.html
FWD  Sydney [Australia] Morning Herald - 26/11/98


PENNILESS PARENTS DUMPING CHILDREN

By John Larkin, Herald Correspondent in Seoul


The number of children dumped at orphanages has jumped by 30 per cent this
year as South Korea's tight-knit families crack under the strain of a
worsening recession, a conference was told yesterday.

Children were bearing the brunt of a recession which was propelling
unemployment and divorce to record levels, an international child-welfare
conference heard.

Fragmenting families usually dumped their children at orphanages, while
children as young as 12 had been forced to become heads of households after
the departure of one or both parents.

Speakers also pointed to rising child abuse, the increasing number of
students going without lunches, and family suicides to demonstrate the
recession's alarming impact on minors. "Korean families are collapsing and
increasing the numbers of homeless children," said Dr Kim Hyung-shik, a
child-welfare expert at Joongang University.

"Deserted children are being left in mass numbers at temporary-care
shelters and facilities such as orphanages."

At the Inchon Orphanage north of Seoul, only 1.3 per cent of the children
are genuine orphans. The rest were either abandoned or placed there
temporarily by unemployed parents. They are known as "IMF orphans" after
the International Monetary Fund, whose reform demands have brought it a
measure of blame for the recession.

Conference organisers put the number of orphans nationwide at nearly 20,000.

Dr Kim said abandoned children rose by nearly one-third to 848 in the first
six months of this year, while the children of single mothers more than
doubled.

In nearly 10 per cent of parent-less families, the parenting responsibility
was shouldered by a child under 12 years of age. "The number of families
headed by children [is] 15,118, and the numbers are drastically rising," Dr
Kim said.

Mrs Park Young-sook, the conference organiser, said children were the
forgotten victims of the recession. South Korea did not have adequate child
welfare as social problems were expected to be dealt with inside the family
unit.

Government officials would not comment on the issue yesterday.

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FWD  Sydney [Australia] Morning Herald - 26/11/98



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>PENNILESS PARENTS DUMPING
CHILDREN


By John Larkin, Herald Correspondent in Seoul

</paraindent>


The number of children dumped at orphanages has jumped by 30 per cent
this year as South Korea's tight-knit families crack under the strain
of a worsening recession, a conference was told yesterday.


Children were bearing the brunt of a recession which was propelling
unemployment and divorce to record levels, an international
child-welfare conference heard.


Fragmenting families usually dumped their children at orphanages, while
children as young as 12 had been forced to become heads of households
after the departure of one or both parents.


Speakers also pointed to rising child abuse, the increasing number of
students going without lunches, and family suicides to demonstrate the
recession's alarming impact on minors. "Korean families are collapsing
and increasing the numbers of homeless children," said Dr Kim
Hyung-shik, a child-welfare expert at Joongang University.


"Deserted children are being left in mass numbers at temporary-care
shelters and facilities such as orphanages."


At the Inchon Orphanage north of Seoul, only 1.3 per cent of the
children are genuine orphans. The rest were either abandoned or placed
there temporarily by unemployed parents. They are known as "IMF
orphans" after the International Monetary Fund, whose reform demands
have brought it a measure of blame for the recession.


Conference organisers put the number of orphans nationwide at nearly
20,000.


Dr Kim said abandoned children rose by nearly one-third to 848 in the
first six months of this year, while the children of single mothers
more than doubled. 


In nearly 10 per cent of parent-less families, the parenting
responsibility was shouldered by a child under 12 years of age. "The
number of families headed by children [is] 15,118, and the numbers are
drastically rising," Dr Kim said. 


Mrs Park Young-sook, the conference organiser, said children were the
forgotten victims of the recession. South Korea did not have adequate
child welfare as social problems were expected to be dealt with inside
the family unit. 


Government officials would not comment on the issue yesterday.


END FORWARD

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