The National Center for Rights of the Child is committed to creating a public system focused on taking care of all young people with the goal of expanding the country’s responsibility for children. It was launched in July 2019 after eight child protection-related institutions came together to become one.
“We will strengthen the publicness and expertise of the child protection system so that children can grow up happy in a safe environment without discrimination,” the center’s first President Yoon Hye-mee said. “We will also act as a hub for child policy by overseeing and sharing relevant information,” added Yoon.
The center’s key focuses are child rights and protection, support for self-reliance, and the establishment of policies. In particular, the center strives to fulfill the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It also makes proposals and works to implement policies that reflect the views of children. The priorities for child protection include making efforts to prevent abuse and support victims of abuse, prevent children from going missing and finding missing children, establish adoption policy and provide post adoption services, and revitalize foster care.
To this end, the center developed various contents this year – public service advertisements, education videos for parents, card news and KakaoTalk emoticons. These contents have been distributed online and they will be promoted on mom cafe, an online community for moms, this month.
The center has also enabled portal site visitors who search keywords, such as the 129 principles of positive parenting, to see direct links to the center’s homepage.
For offline contents, the center produced a promotional leaflet on positive parenting and plans to celebrate Child Abuse Prevention Day on November 18. The center will also develop and release a slogan for positive parenting and Brand Identity in December.
The center operates the Children’s General Assembly where children participate to discuss child-related policies and social issues. The number of child members surged from 12 members in 2020 to 100 members last year. In the digital environment, the center operates an online platform “I have something to say,” providing a space for children under 18 years old to express their opinion. Children can write their posts after verifying their identity on the website.
For long-term projects, the center is working to establish child-focused policies and evaluate their effectiveness and support policy management, as well as build a child statistics database, and conduct child policy research.
Contrary to popular belief, the age range of a child is up to 24 years. In accordance with the revised Child Welfare Act, the center plans to help youth in transition for self-reliance during the extended protection period. To this end, the center opened government-funded institutions dedicated to support youth preparing for self-reliance in provinces and cities this year.
The dedicated institution provides consultation on a regular basis and customized services in the areas of income, housing, and employment. For asset formation, there is Didim Seed Account, creating seed money for financial independence. There is also Pinwheel Supporters, a mentoring program where youth who have aged out of care mentor youth in transition, allowing mentors and mentees to help each other. The institute also provides free 1:1 professional psychological counseling.
The institute also plans to continue school-assigned police officer mentoring, crime prevention education, and financial education for protected children and youth preparing for self-reliance through cooperation with the National Police Agency and Financial Services Commission.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Welfare is strengthening income support focusing on the self-reliance allowance. With inflation and the tough job market, the ministry increased the self-reliance allowance from 30,000 won ($21.86) to 35,000 won from August to help ease the burden on youth preparing to be financially independent.
In order to provide income support for those who are subject to extended protection while living outside of the facilities, the center is making efforts to have basic livelihood benefits be paid directly to the individual beneficiary. Currently, the benefits are paid to the entrusted facilities.
“Children are not the property of their parents. They are independent human beings. We will strive to build a social culture that respects children in accordance with the 129 principles of positive parenting,” President Yoon Hye-mee said.
By Yang Jung-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)