CHINA - The number of orphans adopted in China has been falling since 2010, according to an annual report from the top civil affairs authority on Tuesday.
In 2013, of the 550,000 orphans living in China, 17 per cent were supported by welfare agencies. Only 24,460 families adopted children, 3,230 of which were from foreign countries, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The number of families who adopted orphans was down 10.4 per cent year-on-year.
In 2010, the number of families adopting orphans dropped by 22.3 per cent from 2009, the largest decline in eight years. In each of the past four years, the figure has declined by around 10 per cent.
In 2006, there were roughly 50,000 adoptions; last year there were 24,460.
The number of overseas families adopting a Chinese child has also been declining in recent years, from around 13,000 in 2005 to 3,320 by the end of 2013.
Of the overseas applicants willing to adopt Chinese children, the majority of them were from the United States, according to earlier reports from the ministry.
In response to the large number of orphans living outside the care of official welfare agencies, Li Qin, a deputy to the National People's Congress, said governments should lower the threshold for adoption to help more orphans find families, as quoted by China National Radio.
Li said governments should give more financing support to orphans living in rural areas and provide more training for people to work in children's welfare agencies.
The ministry said the expenses on social welfare services, including those for orphans, was around 43 billion yuan ($6.9 billion) in 2013, up 16.1 per cent from last year.