There has been an increase in the number of abandoned children, while the number of families willing to adopt children is on the decline, a report released by the Children's Welfare League Foundation said yesterday.
"There were 509 abandoned children reported last year, which was a 40 percent increase from the 2001 figure," the foundation's executive director Alicea Wang (王育敏) told a news conference in Taipei, citing figures from the Ministry of the Interior.
The figure did not include unreported cases or abandoned children who died before being discovered, Wang said.
The statistics included children who were deserted right after being born and those whose parents had later refused to take care of them, Wang said.
Economic difficulties, such as low or unstable income, child birth out of wedlock and the incapacity of parents "were the top three reasons for children being deserted," she said.
What worried Wang more, however, was the declining number of families willing to adopt these abandoned children.
"There are fewer people willing to adopt children," she said. "Comparing last year's figure to that of 10 years ago, the number of adoptions has declined by nearly 35 percent."
Rising child care costs and advancements in ectogenesis technologies are among the causes of the decline, Wang said.
The adoption rate is especially low for certain groups of children.
"Babies born with disorders, babies of drug-addicted parents and babies with darker skin are the `deserted of the deserted,'" Wang said.
"These babies may have been taking drugs from their mothers through the umbilical cord, and therefore would have symptoms such as restlessness or dyspnea," she said.
"But the phenomena would in fact gradually disappear over time. Babies with darker skin are sometimes unwelcome because adoptive parents do not want their children to look too `foreign,'" Wang said.