Monday, September 26

Welfare Dept rescues four child beggars from the streets

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KUCHING: Social Welfare Department protection officers in Sibu have rescued four children of a beggar and detained them at the One-stop-crisis centre there.

The children, aged between three and 10 were initially detained on July 30 by the protection officers under Section 19 of the Children Act 2001 but the children could only be detained for three days and their detention expired yesterday.

Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said the children would be brought to the court today and the protection officers would make a proposal to the court for the children to be given protection and be housed in the children’s home.

“Tomorrow (today), our protection officers, together with a few staff from the Social Welfare Department in Sibu will bring the children to court and our protection officers will make a proposal to the court.

“The court will make a decision and the Social Welfare Department will implement the decision of the court,” she said when contacted yesterday.

Fatimah was asked on the latest development of her ministry’s investigation into a report that the children were spotted begging and sniffing glue at a market and along various streets in Sibu.

“There are actually five of them but a boy who is six years old managed to escape. After the detention, the children were temporarily detained at the One Stop Crisis Centre in Sibu Hospital,” Fatimah stated.

Fatimah said based on the Social Welfare Department’s preliminary investigation, it all pointed out that the fact that the children needed to be given protection and to be placed in the children’s home.

“However, before we can place them in our children’s home, we need to obtain a court order first for the government to be the legal guardian of the children.”

She said at the children’s home, the children would be cared for until they reached 18 years old and the government would look into providing them with education, health examination, counselling and care.

Fatimah stated that investigation into the children were from a family of 10 children of a single mother who recently gave birth to the youngest one at the general hospital here.

The women is still in the hospital.

“The eldest is a seventeen-year old boy and is currently working, while three of the siblings have been adopted by their relatives. The single mother is the recipient of the Social Welfare Department’s monthly assistance of RM450.”