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The welfare ministry plans to increase staff at child welfare institutions for the first time in about three decades, reflecting a growing need to provide better care for abused children, sources said.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has received requests from many of the institutions, which house children in need of care, to revise the basic guidelines set in 1979 for allocating employees based on the number of children and their age.

Measures under discussion are focusing on children who have suffered abuse by parents or relatives, whose numbers have been increasing at the institutions over the past 20 years.

Currently, the ministry recommends that an institution should hire one psychotherapist for every 10 children in need of mental care.

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