End-of-care children need not only economic support but also emotional support.

[South Korea] Those who are 18 years old and have to leave childcare facilities and stand on their own feet are called ‘End of Care Children’. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 26,600 teenagers have left the facility for about five years from 2014 to 2019. 4,000 teenagers a year come to the adult society without being well prepared.

For children who are vulnerable to self-reliance, the government is strengthening support for public rental housing and local governments are paying self-reliance allowances. Combined with basic living expenses and self-reliance allowances, the government provides an average of 900,000 won a month to children who are terminated from protection. However, children who leave the facility say money is not important.

Children who leave childcare centers enter self-reliance centers or move into public rental houses and boarding houses. There are many accommodations supported by the government, but there is not enough education to use the government support system. Local governments provides self-reliance agents who help children who are discharged from the children protection facilities such as orphanage, but there is a limit for them to actually take care the end of care children, they are in charge of dozens of children at a time. They need someone to sympathize with their situations and lean on, but there is too little resource to provide such am ‘adult’ mentor. For this reason, end-of-care children say that it is not money that is urgent, but adults who need to trust and rely on (of course, money!). According to the Korea Counseling Psychology Association, there are many children who call in the emptiness and depression saying that they are left alone in the world rather than economic worries.

In this situation, what else should be implemented besides economic support? Psychological counseling or education should be strengthened to help self-reliance. Even if the government provides a lump sum of money, there are actually not many children who spend it wisely – some spend all money on games or entertainment at once, and they often don’t know how to manage their money properly. Currently, the government system focuses on economic support, so various non-profit organizations run by the private sector are in charge of emotional support or education. The introduction of various government-level systems is urgently needed.

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Categories: Society