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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Orphaned Kids Get Coping Centers

After the twin disasters of an 9.0 Magnitude earthquake an subsequent massive tsunami struck the north eastern coast of Japan back on March 11, 2011 , the country's Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has announced it will open mental health care facilities for those children who lost their parents in Iwate-ken (Iwate Prefecture), Miyagi-ken (Miyagi Prefecture) and Fukushima-ken (Fukushima Prefecture).

A conservative estimate puts the total to over 1,500 children trying to cope with the death of one or both parents.

The facilities will include psychiatrists to provide more care for these children, fueled by a Y7.2-billion (~Cdn/US $92.5 million) infusion as noted by the first extra budget following the disaster.

According to Health sources, for children aged 17 and under, there were a total of 234 orphans as of August 31, 2011:
  • 93 in Iwate;
  • 120 in Miyagi;
  • 21 in Fukushima

Government numbers also put the number of children who lost one parent at 1,295:
  • 445 in Iwate;
  • 711 in Miyagi;
  • 139 in Fukushima.

The Ministry fears that without proper care, the mental well-being of these children could worsen over time.

The problem, however, despite how much money the government throws at the problem, is that there are only about 300 children's psychiatrists in the whole country,and there are many child counseling centers already lacking enough mental health care providers.

To help alleviate this shortfall, these new care centers are looking to create a system to bring in local school counselors, experts at child counseling offices, pediatricians and volunteers to exchange information.

A care team will be formed in each municipality to continue providing mental health care while monitoring the overall emotional state of the children who have moved in with relatives or are now trying to cope with a life with a single parent.

These care centers are being set up to have study sessions and will provide on-the-job training for caregivers like counselors and volunteers in an effort to provide a better quality service.

Click HERE to read a pretty crappy story about what Japan is also doing for its disaster orphans and one girl's particularly horrible tale of survival. It was originally a CNN World story, which was where I found the photo up above.

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph

1 comment:

  1. I wish I were wealthy enough to adopt one of these poor kids and give them the life that that day took away from them.

    Poor kids.

    ReplyDelete