Child Protection System in South Korea

Bong Joo Lee - National Systems of Child Protection


Since inception of the national child protection system in 2000, there has been significant progress in protecting children from abuse and neglect in South Korea. However, there are clearly areas that need further development to better protect the vulnerable children from abuse and neglect. The cultural context has been a challenge to the national child protection system. Changes in South Korean’s attitudes toward and awareness of child maltreatment have been slow. The basic orientation of the child protection system can be described as retributive by focusing on punishing the perpetrators of abuse and neglect. However, this is time to strengthen the restorative approach of the system. The goal of the system should not end at ‘punishing’ the parents and separating their children from them. The ultimate goal of the system is to make the family a safe place for children. In order to pursue this goal, the service components of the system have to be strengthened. The early intervention and prevention system is another area that needs further development. By building stronger service network with other community agencies, early intervention and prevention strategies should be a priority for child protection system in South Korea.