Expanding Child Protection Network
A community and cross-disciplinary collaboration
As of July 2015, 18 severe child abuse cases (ten familicide and eight child abuse) have taken place, resulting in the death of 16 children, of which 10 were under the age of three. In the past one week, five children were deprived of their chance to grow up due to adults’ malignant acts. In response to the series of tragic incidents, CWLF proposes three suggestions for the current policies:
The first advice is to provide in-home childcare advisory service. As most children under the age of six are minded by their family throughout the day, it is difficult for others to know their care condition. Although the government provides preschoolers counselling service, the duration of the service is a limitation. CWLF proposes that service should be delivered since the beginning of pregnancy. Nurses from public health care centres should pay extra attention to pregnant women’s health condition and follow up for at least a year after the birth of the child. On top of giving child care advice and exchanging experiences and knowledge, the nurses can also engage in ongoing observation and report to the system should any inappropriate care is noticed.
Secondly, making alcohol and drug rehabilitation service more accessible is required. Working with families with alcohol or drug addicts is more challenging when implementing child protection work. Caretakers with such background may not have issues with basic child care skills, but can pose threats to children as soon as they become overdosed. They require professional medical assistance which should be made more accessible as based on our experiences, even when a client is willing to receive treatment, the intention can be put off if the service location is distance away.
This year in June, Ministry of Health and Welfare sent out official notice to health care centres around Taiwan, requesting the centres to accompany social workers during home visits to alcoholic clients. CWLF is strongly for this practice but also hopes this will be thoroughly implemented. Furthermore, families with drug addicts should also be included in this practice so families suffering from drug issues can also have access to service.
Lastly, having the community to safeguard the children’s safety can make crucial difference. Neighbours of the children in these recent cases mentioned that the children had not been well taken care of, and the composition of their family is complicated. Even so, no one made the attempt to report to the system. CWLF encourages neighbours to be nosy and observe if the children around them are in any danger. Neighbours should report to the Ministry of Social Welfare or call 113 should this is observed. No matter how many social workers there are, neighbours who spend their everyday life within the community are irreplaceable as they will know the children better than social workers. Child abuse can be avoided only if each one of us takes actions to protect children from being harmed.