The Chinese government will conduct its first survey of the number of children left in rural villages when their parents leave to work in cities, reported the China Youth Daily over the weekend.
Known as "liu shou er tong," or "left-behind" children, over 60 million under-18s are estimated to be either left in the care of elderly relatives or left unsupervised in villages when their parents migrate.
A comprehensive study will determine the best care that these children need, the paper reported, citing officials at a conference on the social issue over the weekend.
The authorities will also include about 36 million children who moved to the cities with their parents in the study, the report said.
The phenomenon of "left-behind" children, which has grown along with increasing industrialization in China, is causing social concern as these minors often lack proper care and have been involved in suicides, accidents and juvenile delinquency.
In a high profile case last June, four siblings in a village in the Guizhou province died after drinking pesticide. They reportedly left a suicide note.
The case prompted Prime Minister Li Keqiang to call for preventive measures.