Abandoned Children

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Abandoned Children

The term abandonment of children refers to the failure of a parent or guardian to provide support to his/her children as per the requirement of the court of law. Similarly, the practice of leaving a child at the doorstep of a stranger when he or she is not at home has been classified as child abandonment. Generally, child abandonment is witnessed when a person in charge of a child, a guardian, or a parent fails to provide all the basic needs to a child or deserts his/her child without putting into consideration the physical health and the general welfare of the child. According to UNICEF, more than 400,000,000 abandoned children from all over the world live on their own in various streets especially in all the major towns in different countries. More often than not, we are reminded in the moral teaching to, “Care for the orphan” and to “Care for the fatherless.” Because if we don’t reach out to them, then who will? Rather than asking the question, Why me? We should instead ask the question, Why not me? As members of the society we should act with immediate effect before this problem gets out of our hands.

Different authors have conducted extensive research on some of the core causes of abandoned children or abandonment of children by their guardians or by their parents. Donlon et.al, argues that the root cause of abandonment of children is unwanted pregnancies especially among the youth (170). I do agree with Donlon et.al. that cases of abandoned children especially in the developing countries have been increasing at a high rate because a good number of the youths more so those at adolescent stage are getting pregnant (168). In order to curb or to reduce this problem then it will be a prudent idea for policy makers in the education sector to introduce sex education as part of the school syllabus. By doing this, youths especially young girls and boys at adolescent stage will be given information on unprotected sex as well as ways in which they can make informed choices. Considering the fact that, knowledge is power, the sex education will equip knowledge to these youths on the consequences of unplanned pregnancies thus we will rest assured of witnessing a substantive reduction in the number of cases of abandoned children in our society.

On their Nelson, Fox and Zeanah, argue that cases of abandoned children arise as a result of the weakening of our family setup or family institutions. Indeed this argument is very true and as a matter of fact, technological advancement and globalization has created a society whereby parents no longer take the responsibility of bringing up their children, however they delegate this duty to other people whom they employ (63). For the case of the United States of America, nearly all parents who are employed are full time workers thus they spend 10 or even more hours in their places of work. As a result of this children end up growing without the experience of their parental love. In fact our present day parents are interested in career and work development thus they don’t have enough time to spend with their children. In my view, parents should remember that children are a gift from God thus they should be close to them as much as possible. The point here is that, children do bring you to their parents and above all when parents get old then it’s their children who will take care of them. Therefore, there is an urgent need for parents to create more time which they will spend with their children and we will rest assured of reducing cases of abandoned children in our societies.

While assessing some of the challenges faced by troubled children, Nelson, Fox and Zeanah, states that most of them especially those in the streets do have trouble sleeping (65). In addition to this Nelson, Fox and Zeanah, says that quite a number of abandoned children feel betrayed by their parents or guardians who were looking after them before they were abandoned (67). I do agree with this sentiments and from my personal observations I can add that abandoned children end up experiencing a lot of difficulty when it comes to concentration on school work thus their performance is dismal or totally poor.

Fig1..Abandoned child ( incoorect)

Furthermore abandoned children are susceptible to chronic illness or chronic diseases among other types of diseases. Fig 2 below I do believe there is an urgent need for healthcare professionals and psychologists to work hand in hand with these children, with their guardians, parents, as well as with their teachers so as to ensure that their special needs are gathered for.

Fig2.Abandoned child crying ( incorrect)

In my opinion, the government and non-governmental organization as well as members of the society should play a vital role if we are to avoid or if we are to reduce the number of children who are abandoned on daily basis. Van den Berg, argues that, there is an urgent need for the government to enforce a law that is geared at ensuring that all parents and guardians are held responsible in providing their children with the basic needs (15). In addition to this, the police should be trained on how they can make use of new techniques such as DNA test in finding out the parents of those children who have been abandoned by their parents or by their guardians.

Besides that, Van den Berg, argues that there is an urgent need for the government as well as the Non-Governmental Organization to ensure that they provide shelter or homes to pregnant girls as well as to the abandoned children who are out there in the street (25-17). As mentioned above, the root cause of abandoned children is unwanted pregnancy especially among young girls who are unwed or those who are not employed. Basically, bringing up a young child poses a great challenge to not only unmarried women but also to married couples thus some abandon their children as a way to escape from the big responsibility of bringing up a child. In setting up homes for pregnant girls and the abandoned children, the government should ensure that these individuals are provided with counseling services. This will help them to overcome depression that they are undergoing and in addition to this, counseling services will help them to adapt in their new environment. It is equally important, for the government and the Non-Governmental Organizations to help the abandoned children to find their parents and ensure that they provide them with all the basic needs and good care as per the constitution. By doing this, parents will not risk abandoning their children because they know very well that if they do so then they will face the full force of the law.

Furthermore Suárez and Marshall, states categorically that media can play a vital role in overcoming this problem of abandoned children (178). It is quite evident that we live in a global village whereby we are connected by technology thus technology can help us overcome social challenges that we are facing such as abandoned children. As concerned citizens and members of a society we need to create awareness among our friends, our families, and in our society at large on the importance of providing children with their basic needs as their parents or as their guardians. In addition to this, we should use various media platforms that are available such as Twitter, emails, Television, and radio among other forms to educate or to remind members of the society on how they can help abandoned babies as well as the importance of taking care of their beloved children given to them by God.

Fig3. Abandoned child ( incorrect)

To sum up, I can attest that the problem of abandoned children is increasingly become a threat to the social organization of our society. As I have noted earlier, it is estimated that more than 400,000,000 children from all parts of the world have been classified as abandoned because their parents or their guardians are not responsible. It is very clear that the root cause of abandoned children is unplanned pregnancy especially among the youths who are not employed thus because they lack financial ability they abandon their children at the expense of strangers or at the expense of the government. Secondly, it has comes out clearly that abandoned children face a number of challenges and they include: trouble sleeping, chronic diseases among other problems. That said, government and non-governmental organization should play a vital role in the fight against this problem of child abandonment. Among the roles to be played by the government include: formulation and implementation of laws that will put parents and guardians on the radar, supporting non-governmental organizations that are tasked with provision of support to homes established to help abandoned children. Moreover, policy makers should include sex education in school syllabus and we will rest assured of having a group of youths who are well informed about their bodies.

Work Cited

Donlon P, Lake J, Pope E, Shaw C, Haskett M. “Community Action Targeting Children Who Are Homeless (CATCH): Addressing the Mental Health and Developmental Needs of Children Experiencing Homelessness.”Families in Society 95.3 (2014): 163-170. Academic Search Complete. October 14, 2015.

Nelson Iii C, Fox N, Zeanah J. Anguish of the Abandoned Child. Scientific American. 308.4 (2013): 62-67. Available from: Academic Search Complete. October 14, 2015.

Suárez D, Marshall J. Capacity in the NGO Sector: Results from a National Survey in Cambodia. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary & Nonprofit Organizations: 25(1):176-200 (2014). Available from: Academic Search Complete.October 14, 2015.

Van den Berg R. Providing a containing space for unbearable feelings. Psycho-Analytic Psychotherapy In South Africa: 22(2):1-18 (2014). Available from: Academic Search Complete. October 14, 2015.

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