China: After suicides of siblings unattended by migrant-worker parents, time for business to consider their role for left-behind children

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Article
22 November 2016

ICTI CARE Foundation reports on how it is supporting workers with left-behind children

Author: ICTI CARE

"On United Nations Universal Children’s Day, ICTI CARE Foundation reports on how it is supporting workers with left-behind children", 20 Nov 2016

…Latest figures estimate that there are 247 million migrant workers in the Country…The majority of these workers are parents, and due to childcare needs and the ‘Houku’ system…The frequency of reunions between children and their parents is depressingly low; the most fortunate are the 30% of children who see their parents on an annual basis when they come home to visit them…

This summer, ICTI CARE ran pilot projects to create Family-Friendly Factory Spaces at two toy factories in China…with the Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR), the project aims to reunite migrant workers with their left-behind children during the summer months. The spaces create a safe space to learn and play while their parents work.  This enables families, who are usually separated by distance, to spend time together and forge closer relationships…

Business benefits for toy factories

…At both factories, CCR CSR reported that management appeared motivated by genuine concern for the wellbeing of children and by the opportunity to show their support to workers, which in turn helped to build trust and increase worker satisfaction…Each toy factory reported significantly improvements in retention…as well as improved employee-management trust/confidence and relationship

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Report
29 June 2015

They are also parents: A study on migrant workers with left-behind children in China

Author: CCR CSR

The aim of this report was to highlight the issue of China’s 61 million left-behind children from the perspective of their working parents…[T]he impact of family wellbeing on operations is critical, and the challenges and needs of working parents should be at the core of any company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy…

 • [T]here was a major discrepancy between the migrant workers’ understanding of their responsibilities as parents and their actual ability to take on these responsibilities.

• Financial pressure, lack of sufficient time to attend to children, and problems with access to schooling meant that often the parents lacked the means to keep their children with them. At the same time there were often no suitable guardians back home to attend to the children…

• Parents’ key expectations in terms of support included more flexible working hours (64%), assistance with housing (54%) and access to schooling for their children (72%). However less than a quarter of the workers surveyed felt they were supported as parents in the workplace.

While there is a general awareness of workers concerns at the company level, the assistance offered is still ad-hoc and leaves room for significant improvement. However, in the face of deepening labor shortage and significant challenges with turnover…By taking the needs of migrant families into consideration…companies are in position to make a profound difference in the lives of millions of workers, and to take lead in social services innovation.

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Article
23 June 2015

Children of migrant parents left alone to die

The recent deaths of four siblings whose migrant-worker parents left them unattended for more than a year has focused attention on the high price rural families are paying…Police said the four children…committed suicide together…in their home in Tiankan…of the Guizhou Province city of Bijie…by drinking pesticide...

The Bijie government said about one-tenth of the city's school-age children – or more than 164,000 youngsters – live in homes without parents…Some of these "left-behind children" are cared for by relatives such as grandparents, but others fend for themselves…Preventing many migrant-worker parents from bringing children along with them to the cities where they live most of the time is China's strict "hukou" residency system. In the wake of the Bijie tragedy, some experts say the system should be changed.

Every Chinese person has a hukou registration card that is issued by the government of their hometown. The hukou document is the key that unlocks the doors to public schooling, health care and many other government services. The catch is that it usually only works in the area where it was issued. Big cities, for example, often bar youngsters with hukou from other areas from enrolling in public schools, meaning education in these cities is off-limits to the children of most migrant workers…

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Article
18 June 2015

New white paper draws attention to left-behind children’s psychological well-being

… NGO ‘Shangxue Lushang’ published a white paper titled “Mental Condition of China's Left-behind Children 2015”…

The key findings are as follow:
•    15.1% of the children were unable to see their parents for a whole year, even during important events such as Spring Festival, otherwise known as Chinese New Year… •    4.3% of the surveyed children, i.e. 2.6 million, hadn’t received a single phone call from their parents in a year…
•    The children suffered from a dramatic increase in depression and anxiety if their parents failed to be with them at least once every three months…
•    Almost 70% of children have no idea what their parents are doing…

But CSR efforts in this respect are still in the infancy stage. CCR CSR’s parent trainings, which target parent workers in factories and equips them with the tools to improve communication with their child…Other steps that companies can do include supporting family-supportive policies, providing improved access to information, flexible working hours, family-related leave and family support packages (such as “Workplace Family Spaces”) among others.


… NGO ‘Shangxue Lushang’ published a white paper titled “Mental Condition of China's Left-behind Children 2015”…

The key findings are as follow:

·         15.1% of the children were unable to see their parents for a whole year, even during important events such as Spring Festival, otherwise known as Chinese New Year…

·         4.3% of the surveyed children, i.e. 2.6 million, hadn’t received a single phone call from their parents in a year…

·         The children suffered from a dramatic increase in depression and anxiety if their parents failed to be with them at least once every three months…

·         Almost 70% of children have no idea what their parents are doing…

But CSR efforts in this respect are still in the infancy stage. CCR CSR’s parent trainings, which target parent workers in factories and equips them with the tools to improve communication with their child…Other steps that companies can do include supporting family-supportive policies, providing improved access to information, flexible working hours, family-related leave and family support packages (such as “Workplace Family Spaces”) among others.

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Article
31 January 2015

Left-behind children in China and how they impact businesses

Author: Ines Kämpfer, CCR CSR (appeared on Dragon News)

A business that incorporates child rights into its business principles is far more likely to employ a motivated, stable workforce where family well-being and productivity go hand in hand, writes Ines Kämpfer of CCR CSR.

…As highlighted in a study on migrant parents by the Centre for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR) in 2013, the impact of family well-being on business operations cannot be overstated.…59 per cent of workers separated from their children reported feeling distracted and lacking commitment to the job; others reported making frequent errors due to worries concerning their children (38 per cent). A further 33 per cent claimed to be unhappy and unenthusiastic because of the separation. Almost half of those interviewed said they had left jobs in the past because of their children. More heart breaking is the fact that the majority would choose to live and work with their children – if only they could. What these statistics point to is the fact that there’s a real case for businesses to pay closer attention to the needs of their parent workers, to take related action to simultaneously improve output and the lives of their workers...

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