Sun, Sep 03, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Single dad's plight brought to light

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chen, right, is seated at a press conference with Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Chen-nan at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

PHOTO: CHEN TSE-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Chen-nan (李鎮楠) yesterday urged social welfare agencies to help a single father look after his two young children.

Lee held the press conference in response to recent media reports that a single father in Taoyuan County, surnamed Chen (), was so busy trying to provide for his children, that he constructed a pulley system to pass food and other items to his two-year-old daughter from the road to their apartment on the second floor.

The child, too young for school, was left alone at home.

The father is a temporary truck driver, Lee said, adding that he only makes a maximum of NT$20,000 (US$606) per month.

Although the father applied to the Keelung City social welfare department for low income subsidies last year -- Chen's household registry is in Keelung -- he was later told that he was ineligible for the scheme, Lee said.

As a result, even if Taoyuan County and Keelung City social welfare departments both offer to put Chen's daughter and son in a children's home, Chen still has to cover one third of the babysitting fee -- about NT10,000 per month -- according to the law, Lee said.

The need to pay the fee has left the father with intolerable financial burdens, Lee added.

"The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) offers generous subsidies to civil organizations every year, but when it comes to a case like Chen, the government doesn't do anything," Lee said.

Chen Kun-huang (陳坤皇), chief secretary of the Child Welfare Bureau of the ministry, said at the press conference that the MOI reviews its standard for low-income subsidies, based on people's minimum expenditure, every year.

Chen admitted that Taiwan's public support for single fathers remains limited because the nation's social welfare policy still assumes women are more disadvantaged than men.

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