Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday condemned the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) for including former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) daughter, Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤), and her family on a list of “at risk” families.
The councilors urged the ministry to apologize for revealing the details of an individual case.
The complaints came after Vice Minister of the Interior Lin Join-sane (林中森) told reporters on Thursday that the ministry had listed Chen Hsing-yu and her family as a possible high-risk family, and did not rule out the possibility of visiting her to ensure the safety of her and her children.
DPP Taipei City councilors Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) and Lee Ching-feng (李慶鋒) yesterday slammed Lin for revealing confidential information to the press and harming Chen Hsing-yu and her three sons by implying that they were a problem family.
“We condemn the ministry for labeling Chen [Hsing-yu] and her family as mentally ill. This is political murder. Lin and the ministry should apologize for failing to handle the situation in a professional manner,” Chien said yesterday at the Taipei City Council.
Chen Hsing-yu’s situation has raised growing concern after her father wrote a letter to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) imploring him to let his daughter travel overseas.
Chen said banning his daughter from leaving the country was illegal, adding that she might develop a mental disorder or try to commit suicide because of the restrictions.
Huang Ching-kao (黃清高), deputy commissioner of Taipei City’s Social Affairs Department, said families that have difficulties taking care of their children because key members are suicidal or addicted to drugs or alcohol can be listed as a “high-risk family.”
Families whose main earners are unemployed, seriously ill or dead also qualify as high-risk families, he said.
Huang said the department would not comment on specific cases, but added that it sends social workers to visit high-risk families to see whether they need assistance.
The Child Welfare Law (兒童福利法) stipulates that the authorities are entitled to take children away from high-risk families if their guardians are unable to take care of them properly.
Huang declined to confirm whether the MOI had contacted the department and asked it to handle Chen Hsing-yu’s case.
In response, the MOI yesterday said that Lin had never said Chen Hsing-yu’s family was on the list of high-risk families.
“Deputy Minister Lin did not make any judgment or assessment on an individual case in his remarks about Chen Hsing-yu’s case. Rather, he merely mentioned that he would ask the Taipei City Government to pay close attention to Chen Hsing-yu’s family,” a statement said.
It said that it was responsibility of the Taipei City Government and professional social workers to make assessments on individual cases, not the ministry.
“The MOI respects Taipei’s handling of the case, and hereby urges Chen Hsing-yu’s family to offer her more support and help guide her toward positive thinking,” the statement said.
In related news, staff from Chen Shui-bian’s office yesterday announced that Chen Hsing-yu had decided to move her three sons to Kaohsiung.
Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin and staff writer