2-year-old adopted girl left unconscious after abuse

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2-year-old adopted girl left unconscious after abuse

The Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency on Sunday arrested a foster father in his 30s accused of abusing his 2-year-old adopted daughter and leaving her unconscious.
 
The child was brought unconscious, by her father, to a hospital near her home in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, at around 6 p.m. Saturday.
 
The hospital judged that the child was in serious condition and transferred her to a larger hospital in Incheon the same day.
 
After examination, the medical staff reported suspicions of abuse to the police as bruises were found in her face and her body. She also apparently suffered from a stroke.
 
Police arrested the father without a warrant on suspicion of abuse.
 
The adoptive father is said to have admitted to abuse, reportedly saying, "In the morning [on Sunday] she kept whining, so I hit her a few times, and then she fell asleep. But she didn't wake up even after a few hours, so I took her to the hospital."
 
According to police investigations, the child was adopted through an agency in August last year by the parents, both in their 30s. There have been no reports of abuse filed since then.
 
The child is reportedly recovering after undergoing brain surgery in an intensive care unit, but has not regained consciousness.
 
A police official said they will focus on investigating possible abuse, while they cannot disclose any additional details yet.
 
This case has many similarities to the tragic death of a 16-month-old girl, Jeong-in, who died on Oct. 13, 2020, after prolonged abuse by her adoptive parents.
 
Jeong-in's body was bruised, many bones were fractured and her pancreas was ruptured, caused by "strong external force applied on her back." A hospital worker reported suspected child abuse to the police following her death, and her foster mother, surnamed Jang, was arrested in November.
 
Jeong-in's death has fueled an outpouring of grief and anger nationwide, and the so-called Jeong-in Act was passed in February, which hands life imprisonment, or at least seven years behind bars, to abusers if a child dies from abuse.
 
After seeming unending child abuse cases, public opinion is growing that public intervention should be strengthened during the adoption process.
 
Under the current adoption law, adoptive parents must submit essential documents to the Family Court, including personal property and criminal history, such as child abuse, in order to obtain permission for adoption.
 
During the process, psychological tests and investigation on adoptive parents are conducted mainly by private institutions, which the court will then review and decide whether to grant the adoption.
 
On Jan. 19, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced a plan to improve the adoption system along with measures to help prevent child abuse. The plan is to strengthen the responsibility of public institutions such as local governments during the entire adoption process, following criticism that the government's adoptive parent screening process should be tightened.
 
BY SEO JI-EUN   [seo.jieun1@joongang.co.kr]
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