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10% of disadvantaged kids have seen drugs: TFCF

The Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (TFCF, 家扶基金會) yesterday published research on disadvantaged children in Taiwan, revealing that ten percent of them have seen illegal drugs, over 40 percent of them cannot afford breakfast every day and 61 percent don't have someone at home to help them with their homework.

The TFCF said that there are three important factors regarding disadvantaged children that need to be addressed — drugs, food and education. First, around 10 percent of children living in poverty have seen illegal drugs in either night clubs, internet cafes, at home or in the homes of relatives or friends. This rate is higher than the level found in research conducted in 2009.

Second, over 40 percent of these children regularly do not have breakfast, 67.9 percent of them regularly cannot afford lunch and 61 percent of them have experienced eating nothing for a whole day in order to save money for their families. Having a balanced diet is very important for child development and a lack of proper nutrients may lead to health problems, the TFCF stated.

Third, over 61.3 percent of the children haven't taken supplementary lessons after school and 42.5 percent of them can't find people to help them when they face difficulties with their schoolwork.

Fu Tsung-his (傅從喜), a professor from the Department of Social Work of National Taiwan University, said that the government and non-profit organizations should formulate new policies to help these children and pay more attention to this issue by tracking their long-term development.

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