Care for abandoned foreign kidsThe sharp increase in international marriages and migrant workers in Korea has led to an unwanted side effect - a tragic increase in the number of mixed-blood children abandoned by their parents for various reasons. The problem is that many of the kids cannot receive support or protection from central or local governments because they were brought in by parents from their native countries or born to parents who are illegal migrant workers.
According to a report by the JoongAng Ilbo, foreign kids abandoned by their parents are not even eligible to stay in public child care centers. Worse, welfare authorities do not have any information on how many foreign kids have been abandoned or what kind of hardships they have to go through after being abandoned. As it turns out, most of the abandoned children receive minimal protection at a so-called group home run by big-hearted people who take care of the kids without financial support from the central or local governments. These “group homes” run on donations from conscientious citizens. We owe them our thanks.
As Korean society becomes increasingly globalized, it requires more foreign brides and workers than ever before. We need them to develop our society and economy. It’s only logical that we must also take care of their offspring. More importantly, they were abandoned while living in Korea. As most of them have lost connections with their parents and may not even know their original homeland, they have no choice but to depend on our society for their survival. Therefore, regardless of where they come from or their skin color, we should have open attitudes toward them and the protection they deserve from our society. We must help them maintain a basic standard of living and go to school by establishing proper systems for them. Helping them to receive support from our society would also befit the image of a mature country that honors the universal value of human rights in the globalized era.
Their plights are aggravated by a critical lack of communication skills. Fortunately, multiethnic kids who have a Korean parent are entitled to receive protection from the government. But they also have trouble adjusting to Korean society. They will most likely suffer emotional distress from ostracism by their Korean peers. Our society must do its best to help them live a better life through establishing systems for improving their Korean-language abilities.
JoongAng Ilbo, April 10, Page 30