Parents ordered to reimburse care providers for child they abandoned

A man and woman were ordered by a district court to reimburse a welfare home and hospital for taking care of the child they abandoned.

The case was the first of its kind in Shanghai, according to the People’s Procuratorate in Putuo District, which handled the case.

An investigation began in October of 2018, when district prosecutors learned from a children’s hospital that a baby girl was left by her parents in the hospital in July of 2017.

Her mother, a woman surnamed Yuan, gave birth to the girl in her home prematurely. The father, a man surnamed Lu, took the baby to the hospital for treatment. The couple, both Shanghai locals, was not married.

When the baby was ready to be released from the hospital, Yuan and Lu refused to take her home and later went out of contact.

The two were sentenced to eight months and six months in prison respectively under the criminal charge of abandonment in August of 2019.

Meanwhile, from May through November of 2019, the girl was cared for at a welfare home in Putuo, after which the district court designated Shanghai Children’s Home in Minhang District, an orphanage run by the government, as her legal guardian.

That decision was made because Yuan and Lu were considered unfit for parenting. Yuan had no job and lived in a one-room apartment with her grandparents who were too old to take care of a child, while Lu had a criminal past involving robberies and drugs but was willing to raise his daughter, according to prosecutors.

Although born prematurely, the girl is healthy and up for adoption.

In January, prosecutors helped the district welfare home and hospital take action against the girl’s parents.

The two were ordered to pay the hospital a total of more than 20,000 yuan (US$3,000) and the welfare home 1,900 yuan monthly for six months for their expenses.

Since 2018, district prosecutors in charge of cases related to minors have handled seven criminal cases regarding guardianship problems and supported civil lawsuits in fives such cases. More than 10 children involved in the cases were taken into safe hands.