China has an urgent task to care for the vast number of children of migrant workers who remain behind in their villages.
Recent official statistics show that China had almost 140 million migrant workers by the end of 2006. Many have to leave their children at home in the countryside. This forces about a third of rural children to live apart from their parents, and concern is rising for this group at risk.
These children are growing up in the countryside.
Many of them haven't seen their parents for a long time, since the grown-ups are looking for better opportunities in the city.
A child said, "I always remember the old days being with my parents. I wish I could be with them no matter what happens."
Though far away, the parents understand their children's feeling. Phone calls are frequent, but parents can't do everything a mother or father should.
A migrant worker said, "I wish I could have more time with my child. But it's so difficult since I'm away from home."
Parents can't afford the time or the money to bring their children to the city. They can't manage living conditions and education.
The separation causes problems for their children at home.
Professor Sun Yunxiao from Center of Chinese Juvenile Studies said, "All children need love and care from their families, and this is what these children mostly lack. They also need guidance in their life and study from their parents."
A recent government report shows that the number of these left-behind children is increasing, and long-time separation from parents can make them feel unstable and isolated. It says more care is urgently needed.
Some rural schools are grouping the children together in the Big Family project, and foundations are set up for volunteers to help them.
Educational experts are hoping more can be done by both the government and society to let these children feel the warmth of a family.