Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) yesterday called on the government to pay more attention to children in families whose parents are drug addicts, as they are more likely to become the victims of abuse.
“Since 2005, there have been 217 major child abuse cases, in which 99 child victims died as a result,” Wang told a press conference at the legislature. “On average, 1.2 children die from abuse each month ... that’s a scary number.”
Of all major child abuse cases, 53 involved drug addicts, while 28 children died of drug-related abuse, she said.
“In other words, 28.3 percent, or one out of four children who died from abuse, were victims of drug addicts,” Wang said.
“Children in families where parents are drug addicts are three times more likely to become abuse victims,” Wang said, adding that children of drug users are not only at risk of being abused by their own parents, but also of being abused by their parents’ friends, who are often also drug addicts.
She said the government should put more effort into monitoring parents with a background of drug abuse and take better care of the children of drug-addicted parents once they are jailed.
Wang also suggested increasing the penalty for child abuse.
Child Welfare Bureau -director-general Chang Hsiu-yuan (張秀鴛) told the Taipei Times that the bureau was working with the Ministry of Justice to follow up on parents with a background of drug abuse or the children of drug users in prison.
“The problem is not whether we should have such a mechanism, because we already do. The -problem is that we’re suffering from a severe shortage of social workers in child protection,” Chang said.
In the US, each social worker carries 10 to 15 cases on average, while in Hong Kong, each takes care of about 15 children, she said.
“However, in Taiwan, social workers are seriously overloaded, with each having at least 50 to 60 cases at one time,” Chang said.
Because of the workload, Chang said the quality of care is “not so good” and that the attention paid to each case is insufficient.
“Actually, we do try to send more social workers to local governments, but we suspect that social workers may be appointed to do other jobs, but that’s another issue,” Chang said.