Firefighters called to the scene of a fire in Taichung on Aug. 10 found a 2-year-old boy alone in an apartment. According to the boy's father, his mother was an illegal Vietnamese migrant worker that abandoned them. He told police the boy is undocumented because he was too busy with work to visit the household registration office.
An unattended stove burned the pan black and almost caused an apartment fire on Taichung's Furong Street. Luckily firefighters arrived in time and found a 2-year-old boy trapped inside.
Wu Chia-chen, Squadron Chief, Fire Bureau, Taichung City: “(After we broke the door down, we saw the boy) in there by himself. When he saw the rescue workers, he froze for a moment and then started bawling. ”
The boy was alone in the apartment but fortunately sustained no injuries. His father, a man surnamed Yen, told the police that the boy was given birth by a Vietnamese migrant worker years ago. Yen said she completely disappeared so that he has to raise the boy alone. He never registered his son, making him undocumented.
Voice of Hou Shu-ju, Director, Taichung City Domestic Violence Center:” The child might not be able to properly express himself verbally, or might not have developed verbal skills yet.”
The Taichung City Social Affairs Bureau says the boy's father is willing to continue taking care of him, and it will help him register his son so he can go to school.
Under the Protection of Children and Youth Welfare and Rights Act, "Children aged below six or children and youth that need special care" should not be left alone. Anyone against the law will be required to attend a maximum of 50 hours of parenting classes. According to the Child Welfare League Foundation, 43 cases of undocumented children were reported last year, along with 38 cases of parents not registering a child's birth within 60 days. The majority of these cases involved migrant worker parents.
Voice of Lee Hung-wen, Director, Child Welfare League Foundation:” (The migrant worker) was afraid of her employer finding out and gave birth secretly. She thought about hiding the baby, giving him up, or asking other migrant worker friends to take care of him.”
The foundation says hospitals should proactively file reports about potential situations and health bureaus should also stay vigilant for similar cases when administering vaccines.