A guideline detailing the skills needed by adults who provide charity services to children - such as day care, physical therapy and education - was jointly released by five social agencies in Beijing on Monday, based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The guideline was released in the wake of alleged child abuse at a day care center run by online travel agency Ctrip and at other facilities in recent months.
Questionnaires were collected from 265 service providers in 21 areas of China who have worked for an average of 5.4 years.
"It points out clear requirements for people who work with children, on both organizational and individual levels. And it will have a great effect on their behavior, as well as on the welfare of children in the future," said Wang Chao, chief representative in Beijing for Save the Children, one of the five agencies.
The guideline listed four behavioral standards - always considering the child's best interest, avoiding discrimination and banning all forms of abuse, along with listening and showing respect. It stressed that providers should be able to communicate well not only with children but with their parents and teachers, and be highly sensitive to children's psychological and behavioral problems.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs launched a service guideline for social work with children at the end of 2014 as a recommended professional standard. It listed a series of general regulations, which were provided for reference.
"Unlike the industrial standards launched by civil affairs authorities, the new guideline has specific requirements developed by the social organizations. It is a guide for self-discipline, and can be regarded as a good example to follow," said Song Wenzhen, deputy director of the office of the working committee for women and children under the State Council.
Qiao Dongping, deputy director of Beijing Normal University's social development and public policy school, said: "It's time for the government to raise our country's qualification standards for those who work with children."
A video on the internet showing a teacher abusing children in a day care center in Shanghai earlier this month triggered a public outcry about the qualifications of such workers.
"The criteria should focus not only on child workers' qualification certificates, but also workers' special qualities including always thinking about the children, remaining patient and having a sense of responsibility," Qiao said. "Those are quite significant for child work."
The new guideline also called on public service organizations to establish performance assessment and examination systems, as well as training plans, for their first-tier workers, based on their own circumstances.
Zhou Dan, director of Aihuhen Burn Rehabilitation and Care Center, said: "We will bring the guideline into our training program and also set up indicators to evaluate our staff."