A new document recently released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs defines assessment standards for family foster care to help guarantee the rights of fostered or abandoned children and the benefits for caretakers.
"It's required that the family members who have improper behaviors or criminal records are not allowed to give foster care. Also, people who suffer from mental disorders or psychological illness are not qualified for foster care," said Zhao Yong, deputy director of the ministry's Children Welfare Department.
He added that an agreement should be made by all family members before application, and the family members should be in harmony with each other.
"The standard requires that no more than two children are allowed to live in a foster family, when the family has no child under 6 years old living together," he said.
According to the newly released standard, the ministry or children's welfare organizations can discharge a foster family if the family commits any improper behaviour, such as making money using the child, or is prejudiced against and abuses the child.
Zhao, the deputy director, added that assessment of the children also is important, besides investigating a potential foster family.
"The standard also includes children who are not suitable for foster families, such as severely disabled kids and those who require long-term medical treatment," he said. "Children who have a serious mental disease or abnormal emotional behaviors are not encouraged to receive foster care."
So far, there are 6,991 children living in foster families nationwide.