Family planning officials find new role after one-child policy scrapped

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-1-17 19:08:01

Family planning official Li Bo plays with a baby in a child-rearing center in Danfeng, Shaanxi Province. The child-rearing project is aimed at improving parenting in rural areas. Photo: IC

As China's one-child policy comes to an end after the National People's Congress wrote into law that all couples are allowed to have two children, the family-planning commission is facing a shift in their work.

Just a few years ago, stories about the administration forcing women to have abortions were still in the news, but now their task has changed. The half million family planning officials, from national down to township-level offices, have begun to look for a new role.

Grass-roots level officers in townships, who are in direct contact with families within their jurisdiction, still provide condoms and contraception operations, but receiving their services is now optional.

The family planning commission in Danfeng township, in Shangluo county, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, established a "babies' early development center" last November to provide services to newborns from 0 to 3 years old. It's part of a program initiated by the National Health and Family Planning Commission to improve parenting quality in rural areas.

At a week-long training session, 70 rural officials were taught scientific parenting methods and given toys and picture books.

They consult young couples at the centers, and each official is allocated several rural families to look after. Li Bo and his colleague Yan Shuxia are in charge of eight families. Every other week they visit the families one by one, bringing a sack full of toys and books, and during their one-hour stay in each home, they play with the baby and show the parents how to get along with and raise the infant. Detailed physical data is recorded for each baby, and they also jot down four development indicators of movement, language ability, social sentiment and recognition for each of the babies.

Their work is not without difficulties. Some of them were mistaken for child-traffickers, and some parents refused the toys for fear they cost money.

Efforts will be made to change the old mindset among both officials and members of the public. Having received positive feedback from many families, the county has begun the second phase of training for the project.

Global Times

A child looks at boxes containing books and toys for children of different ages in a village child-rearing center. Photo: IC

Family planning official Li Bo tells a woman how to play and communicate with her baby. Photo: IC

Li plays with a baby. Photo: IC


Li performs an ultra-sound examination on a pregnant woman. Photo: IC


Newspaper headline: Reborn officials

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