Foster care in China has been increasing and developing since Care for Children began its pioneering work in 1998, and it is clear to those involved that many thousands of children's lives have been transformed by the opportunity to be part of a family. However, until now, there has been scarcely any empirical research in China into the extent and impact of long-term foster care as an alternative to institutional care.
All this is about to change.
On 22nd July 2014, Care for Children founder Robert Glover OBE and members of our professional team of social work experts were invited by our government partners, the China Social Work Association (a subsidiary of China's Ministry of Civil Affairs) and the Ningxia Child Welfare Institution to attend a National Conference on Foster Care to mark the official launch of a joint Research Study. The movers and shakers of long term foster care in China were in attendance, including members of government and representatives from state-run institutions with long-running family placement programmes.
The Research study will gather data from a number of orphanages, which have well established foster care programmes. Key areas to be explored are: the extent to which foster care has become established in China over the last 15 years, the experiences of the foster parents and their communities, and the impact of foster family care on children and young people's health, well-being and development.
This information will be collated and analysed by a research team, which will include Care for Children staff, academic experts and government officials. A full research report will be produced by the end of 2016.
Undoubtedly, the joint research study will provide evidence of the ways in which foster care can change children's developmental pathways as well as indicators of more that can be done to promote and develop good foster care practice in China.
We look forward to updating you on this research study as it progresses!