Orphaned children will from now on receive at least 600 yuan ($88) each month as living allowance till they turn 18 as the government tries to ensure that they are not left behind in the country's economic march.
The scheme will also cover children whose parents are both behind bars. Nearly 720,000 nationwide will benefit from the policy, Wang Zhenyao, director of the department of social welfare and promotion of charities affiliated to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said Tuesday.
Currently, welfare institutions are largely funded by local governments but the allowances are meager - about 50-100 yuan per child each month - he said at the launch of the report Child Welfare in China, compiled by the ministry and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to mark International Children's Day.
"As China edges toward becoming the second largest economy with annual per capita GDP in major cities like Shanghai exceeding $4,000, it is time to spread the wealth among children," he said.
Free our kids, free our minds
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