City partners with social welfare organizations to protect children
Local officials are creating a protection network for minors with several programs signed by civil affairs authorities and social welfare organizations during the annual Shanghai Philanthropy Week.
These programs inked on Wednesday cover a wide range of areas, such as children-friendly venues, psychological care for minors in communities, children's involvement in social governance and care for children with autism and their families, according to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.
Among these, the Shanghai United Foundation signed a partnership agreement with the Pudong New Area Civil Affairs Bureau for a program that will care for children born in a poor family and minors who have been left behind while their parents work elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Charity Foundation has teamed up with Le Yang Charities to provide family education and psychological care for minors.
Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park will partner with the Shanghai Social Worker Association's children's welfare committee to provide care for children with autism and their families. Under the program, the park will provide free admission, activity venues and host activities designed for children with autism and their families.
The civil affairs bureaus of Jing'an and Huangpu districts also signed agreements with two social organizations.
The agreements with social organizations will subsidize the above charity programs while providing funding for social workers and facilities.
The mother of Xiao Ye (pseudonym) sought help from experts on one of these online platforms when he showed symptoms of emotional deterioration.
"I try to learn how to communicate with children with help from experts on the platform," said the mother. "There was a wall separating me and my son because we don't understand each other. Now, I am trying to mend it gradually."
Bai Li with Le Yang Charities said that during the COVID-19 resurgence in Shanghai, the pressure on parents and children's abnormal behavior due to the long lockdown led to a raft of family disputes.
"We received many phone calls from children we used to serve talking about their disputes with parents, which made us realize how many minors have severe psychological problems," Bai said.
As a result, Le Yang launched an online platform combining artificial intelligence and social workers' consultations that provides services such as psychological counselling, life education, family relationship mending and autism assistance for minors and their families.
Since the platform debuted in April, it has provided services to about 1,000 juveniles and their families.
The Shanghai Minor Protection Committee Office said it will encourage and guide more social resources to help protect juveniles and create a positive future for them.