The Care and Education of Orphan Children with Disabilities in China: Progress and Remaining Challenges: The 2009 International Focus Issue of Childhood Education, Guest Edited by Judit Szente and X, Christine Wang Examined the Issue of Children Around the Globe Coping with Adverse Circumstances. We Revisit That Theme with This Article (Report) by Childhood Education

The Care and Education of Orphan Children with Disabilities in China: Progress and Remaining Challenges: The 2009 International Focus Issue of Childhood Education, Guest Edited by Judit Szente and X, Christine Wang Examined the Issue of Children Around the Globe Coping with Adverse Circumstances. We Revisit That Theme with This Article (Report)

By Childhood Education

  • Release Date: 2009-12-22
  • Category: Education

Brief Description

Over two decades ago, China launched the spectacular Reform and Open Up Policy to promote economic growth, and enforced the One Child per Family Policy to reduce the population density. Even though Chinas economy is now booming, it is suffering some dire consequences of its family planning policy. A few years following implementation of this policy, members of the Liming Family Catholic Church in Northern China found that more and more infants were left outside of its door. These infants shared one common characteristic: they were in some way disabled, such as blindness, genetic heart disease, Down syndrome, cleft palate, and cerebral palsy. The church took in these abandoned children without hesitation, regardless of their conditions. Without a stable living environment, appropriate education, and rehabilitation services, however, these disabled children were not likely to grow up to be self-reliant. China is well known for its thriving economic development and a large population of over 1.3 billion (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2006). In 2007, the total national revenue reached 5.13 trillion yuan, which was a 32.4% increase from the previous year (National Development and Reform Committee, 2008). One would expect that the social problems of child abandonment would decrease as the nation increases in prosperity. On the contrary, it was reported in the 50th report on the "Tomorrow Plan" that the number of orphans with disabilities had increased in the last decade (Department of Civil Affairs in P.R. China [DCA], 2007c). In many child welfare institutions, the percentage of orphans with disabilities is as high as 100%. Of the more than 573,000 orphan children living in China, the majority are classified as having disabilities (DCA, 2006). It is likely that this number is low, as the data for such classifications are often under-reported. Literature is scarce on the developmental outcomes and well-being of these orphan children with disabilities. Realizing the urgency and importance of this topic, this article will discuss the overall factors related to child abandonment; the care and educational systems of orphan children; the developmental consequences of abandonment, inadequate care, and education; and the progress made by the Chinese government regarding improving the well-being of orphan children with disabilities. Recommendations for further improvement also will be discussed.

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