Switzerland pays out $4.9 million to hundreds of people taken from their parents as children

Swiss authorities say they have paid out 4.6 million francs ($4.9 million) so far to hundreds of people who as children were taken from their parents and sent to work on Swiss farms or sent to homes.

The government-backed fund to support former "contract children" who face financial difficulties was set up last year. Many of those children experienced physical and sexual abuse from the very adults who were supposed to care for them.

The Justice Ministry said Thursday that over 1,300 applications for payouts were received by the June 30 deadline. Around 600 of the 737 applications processed so far were approved.

The practice of sending poor children to farms was in full swing until the 1960s. The government is working on plans for a 300 million-franc compensation fund.