KUALA LUMPUR: The Women, Family and Community Development ministry is studying the need to increase the number of child protectors aimed at protecting about 9.4 million children nationwide.

Deputy minister Hannah Yeoh said there were currently only 208 child protectors and that the number was insufficient to handle the various cases such as abuse, neglect and other
childcare issues.

“Currently, a child protector takes up 80 children’s cases. The actual ratio of protector and children is 1:45,142 and it is not enough.

“We are studying the need to add more than 1,000 qualified people,” she told reporters after launching the Sentul Festival 2019 here, yesterday.

According to Yeoh, child protection plays a very important role in helping the group get protection under the Children Act 2001.

“We cannot ignore them. If we do not have enough staff and budget to take care of this population, the cost we would have to spend on such intervention and prison would be more expensive in the future,” she said.

Yeoh also revealed that there were various crimes committed against children with the number of neglected children being the highest at 13,486 while the number of children being physically and sexually abused coming up to 10,046 and 8,112 respectively from 2011 to 2018.

Meanwhile, Yeoh in her speech praised the efforts made by the non-governmental organisation Dignity for Children Foundation which organised the festival for the first time to inspire and transform the lives of the urban poor through education.

The festival, held from Aug 10 and ending tomorrow was attended by about 1,000 visitors. A variety of activities were held such as workshops and educational talks on various topics such as neurodevelopment disorders in children and mindfulness meditation. – Bernama