Archive for February 17th, 2011

76% of kids in welfare facilities have suffered child abuse

Posted on February 17, 2011. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Orphanages | Tags: , , |

The Yomiuri Shimbun Feb. 16th, 2011
About 76 percent of those in welfare facilities for the short-term treatment of emotionally disturbed children have been victims of child abuse, with the percentage having doubled from 14 years ago, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey.

As of the end of November, 1,128 juveniles were being treated at such facilities, abbreviated to “jotan” in Japanese, across the nation. Of those, 853 had experienced child abuse, the survey showed.

Furthermore, about 70 percent of the facilities said they suffer from staff shortages, indicating that staff have been exhausted by taking care of children who have experienced abuse.

Child welfare experts pointed out that the system of managing the facilities needs to be reexamined.

The survey was conducted from November to January through telephone interviews and written questionnaires on the facilities.

In 1996, a national liaison council comprising welfare facilities and other relevant bodies conducted a similar survey on 16 jotan facilities and found that about 35 percent of children in their care had experienced child abuse.

Of the 21 facilities that responded to the Yomiuri survey, 14 said they suffered from staff shortages and cited difficulties in treating children who deliberately harm themselves or are violent towards the other children.

Currently there are 37 jotan facilities nationwide. One facility staff member said, “We used to use group therapy a lot, but these days each case requires a different type of therapy, and this is stretching us to breaking point.”

Many of the children in jotan facilities were brought in via child consultation centers.

Of about 20 children who left such facilities in fiscal 2009, only about eight returned home. Though about eight more were transferred to more mainstream children’s shelters, some children could not adapt to their new lives and came back to the jotan facilities, according to officials.

Asked about measures they wanted authorities to take, more than 50 percent of the facilities cited the need to review and increase staff numbers.

Many facilities also asked for an increase in funds, paid in accordance with the number of children in their care.

Yuzuru Hiramoto, an associate professor of children and family welfare studies at Ashikaga Junior College, said, “Most children looked after in jotan facilities are relatively serious sufferers among those who have experienced child abuse.

“But there are no clear guidelines as to how to treat them, and staff are not in a position to study theories–they just have to cope with the problem by themselves. Because of insufficient staff, the system has to be totally overhauled,” he said.

The jotan facilities look after children with relatively mild emotional disorders, and an inability to control themselves due to bullying, abuse and other problems in their relationships.

The facilities take them in on a short-term basis to give them psychological therapy.

They are set up under the Child Welfare Law, along with children’s shelters which house young people who cannot live with their parents for various reasons.

Currently about 580 shelters accommodate about 30,000 children nationwide.

Japanes link to this story

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More men turning to homemaking

Posted on February 17, 2011. Filed under: Uplifting Stories | Tags: , , , |

Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011     By SAWAKO OBARA     Kyodo News

As public perceptions of traditional gender roles shift, more Japanese men are willing to take on homemaking. Some opinion polls show most males in their 20s and 30s have no negative notions of men serving as househusbands.


News photo
Mr. Mom: Masashi Nihei, a 30-year-old stay-at-home husband in Kanagawa Prefecture, entertains his baby son at their home in January. KYODO PHOTO

Working around the house instead of holding down a career has increasingly become an option since more wives are staying in the workforce. Meanwhile, more men are trying to start their lives anew at home after burning out on excessively demanding jobs.

Takatoshi Miyauchi, 31, gets up every morning at 5 to scrub the floors of his Tokyo house. He then turns on the bread maker and begins preparing breakfast. After his family finishes eating, he heads out at around 8, taking his 2- and 3-year-old daughters to day care.

He does the laundry and cleans the home before returning to the day care center to pick up his kids. Then dinnertime comes, after which he tucks in the children at 9 in the evening. Exhausted, he often falls asleep together with them.

Miyauchi says the day passes quickly, what with all the household chores keeping him busy.

When they got married, he and his wife had planned to raise children while keeping their double-income lifestyle. But Miyauchi fell ill from overwork, and strained relationships at his workplace added to his stress. He quit and devoted himself to homemaking.

He thought he would be a stay-at-home dad only for a while, but a second child came along, making it difficult to juggle the job search and parenting. He decided about a year and a half ago to remain a homemaker.

His wife, who works in the research and development department at a medical equipment firm, is the family’s sole breadwinner.

Miyauchi had mixed feelings about becoming a househusband. He thought of himself as a failure and didn’t tell others about his life decision. But he got over it when his acquaintances barely batted an eye when he told them he had decided not to seek a new job.


News photo
Takatoshi Miyauchi, 31, also a stay-at-home dad, prepares a meal last month while looking after his younger daughter in Tokyo. KYODO PHOTO

Miyauchi compares his role with that of a company’s general administration department, handling all manner of tasks to support the work of the entire firm.

“I used to underestimate housework, thinking it was easy, but now I’ve realized it requires a serious commitment,” he says.

Now feeling more comfortable with himself, he runs a blog titled “Katarue,” chronicling his day-to-day activities in comic strips in hopes of networking with people in similar situations.

Masashi Nihei, a 30-year-old resident of Kanagawa Prefecture, decided to become a stay-at-home dad last September and says he has no second thoughts.

Nihei had a busy career as a computer programmer, often giving up weekends to work. But after a child was born, he became a househusband because he excels at homemaking. His wife, who holds a higher-paying job, continues to work.

“I’m happier now because I used to work all the time,” he says. “I can keep a close watch as my baby starts to teethe and learns to toss and turn in bed. I also feel great because my child is more attached to me than to my wife.”

According to welfare ministry data, the number of men financially supported by their spouses has been rising steadily in recent years. It reached 110,037 as of March 31 last year, up from 98,510 three years earlier. There was a particularly sharp increase of 6,490 in the fiscal year through March 2010.

A survey in 2009 of some 1,100 young men conducted by a Tokyo matchmaking service, O-net Inc., found that 62 percent of the respondents in their 20s and 69 percent of those in their 30s think there is nothing problematic about a man becoming a homemaker.

The rise in women’s earning power could be one factor. The average disposable income of single women aged 29 or younger exceeded that of their male counterparts for the first time in 2009, according to the internal affairs ministry.

Masahiro Yamada, a sociologist at Chuo University, points out that many women also want to become homemakers because of generally harsh working conditions. Regular company employees are often worn to a frazzle by long hours, while nonregular workers worry about their future due to the lack of job security.

“It’s good that the public attitude (toward a man becoming a househusband) has changed, but it is hard to make ends meet on a single income, so few can afford to become full-time homemakers,” Yamada said.

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ABC World News Tonight – Japanese Mothers Reveal Why They Fled With Their Children

Posted on February 17, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Video | Tags: , , , , |

More video from ABC on child abduction to Japan.

ABC video

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