Publication Date: 
Fri, 2011-12-09 02:18

Abdullah Al-Yousuf also denied reports that these children were given incomplete civil records specially designed for them.
“Children born in the Kingdom to unknown parents have every right to citizenship. They receive equal treatment like other citizens,” the undersecretary said. “It is not true that they are given incomplete civil records specially made for them,” he added.
He stressed that abandoned children will be granted birth certificates and civil record numbers in their infancy and they will receive national identity cards when they reach maturity, similar to any other citizen.
Al-Yousuf said families who were given orphans to look after would usually return them to the ministry when they reached the age of 12 because they could not be mahrams, or close relatives of the family. “We often try to convince these families to keep the orphans with them but when they refuse, we take them to shelter homes,” he explained.
The undersecretary explained that there were three kinds of social care for abandoned children. “The first one is family care, where children will be given to families. The second is institutional care by the ministry where they are placed in shelter homes. The third is a mixture of the two where the ministry will give them to welfare societies that have special homes for the orphans,” he said.
The undersecretary said the ministry was keen to provide orphans with a high quality of education and usually sends them to complete their higher education abroad as part of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s foreign scholarship program. “Children of unknown parenthood are not discriminated against in education, health care, employment and other services,” he said.
He said when there were no vacant seats in government schools, the ministry will enroll abandoned children in private schools and pay their fees.
The undersecretary made it clear that the ministry does not have the right or the authority to employ abandoned children in government or private establishments but it does recommend them for employment in these establishments.
Al-Yousuf revealed that the ministry pays a monthly allowance of SR2,000 to orphans who are under school age and SR3,000 to those who are of school age. “The ministry also pays SR60,000 to any male or female orphan toward marriage expenses,” he said.

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