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