Care for Children headquarters moved to UK from Beijing for greater financial compliance.
Thai project launched with pilot in Chiang Mai.
5 key cities partner with Care for Children to train their regions.
A generation of orphans lives have been transformed.
In 1998 Care for Children pioneered family placement care in China as a positive alternative to institutional care. The project has since grown from a small pilot project in Shanghai, to a nationwide project with repercussions throughout Asia.
In 1998 Care for Children was founded, and a pilot project was launched in Shanghai, China. It was the first joint venture social welfare project between the British and Chinese governments.
Representing the British government Robert Glover, together with his wife Elizabeth and their six children, moved from the UK to China to pioneer a new direction in China's child welfare.
At that time, there was no direct translation for the word ‘Foster Care’ in mandarin. Robert was given an office in the Shanghai orphanage. The goal for the 3-year project was to place 300 children into local families, working in partnership with the Shanghai Civil Affairs.
From the offset, Mr. Glover established an approach that was to be key to Care for Children’s on-going relationship in China, and the success of the project work. Rather than acting as a care-providing organisation that could only ever commit to hundreds, the goal was to provide skills and knowledge to local staff that could eventually impact many thousands of orphans in China.
In 2000 the University of East Anglia (UK) conducted an independent evaluation of the project, and concluded it to be one of the best in the world.
Professor June Thoburn CBE, one of the world’s leading experts in family placement care, and who led the evaluation, has since supported Care for Children in other ways, and most recently as a Keynote speaker at the first Asia Family Placement Conference in 2011, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Following the first National Foster Care Conference in 2000 in Shanghai, Care for Children accepted invitations to replicate the Shanghai pilot project in the poorer, western provinces of Sichuan and Ningxia. The successful replication of these projects in the following years proved that both rural and urban communities were conducive to successful family placements, with the most important factors being commitment and love, not wealth and prosperity.
In 2001 the pilot project in Shanghai was extended by one year, and by 2002, 500 children had been placed into local families by the Shanghai family placement care team – exceeding the original goal by 200 children!
Following the success of the Shanghai project, now running independent of Care for Children’s direct support, the charity was formally invited by the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Beijing to roll-out a nationwide project, starting with 15 project sites in 15 provinces, and was appointed to work in partnership with the China Social Work Association (CSWA). In September 2003, Care for Children’s offices were moved to Beijing.
In 2004, Care for Children published the first set of government-approved national training materials and minimum standards in family placement care. The second National Foster Care Conference was hosted in the same year to launch and distribute the materials to every project site, and then followed up with strategic regional training workshops.
At this point, the strategic nature of Care for Children’s approach saw exponential growth in the development of family placement care across the country, and ultimately in the number of orphans being placed into good, local families.
In 2007 Care for Children was invited to extend the national project to 30 project sites in 27 provinces.
The tragic Sichuan earthquake in May 2008 that killed over 60,000 people, also devastated orphanages in the region. Following a period of months being actively involved in emergency relief efforts, Care for Children committee to a long-term building project in Deyang which was completed in April 2012.
As the project continued to develop, Care for Children began to receive increasing interest from other countries in Asia. Following the first National Foster Care Conference in Bangkok in 2008, Care for Children received an invitation from the Thai government to help them develop family placement care as positive alternative to institutional care.
Shortly after Care for Children’s invitation to Thailand, the DPRK government, in cooperation with the British Embassy in Beijing, also extended a formal invitation to explore the potential of developing family placement care with Care for Children’s support and expertise. This project is currently on hold until the political situation stabilises.
In response to requests from several other countries, Care for Children organised the first ever ‘Asia Family Placement Conference’ in Chiang Mai, Thailand. HRH Prince Michael of Kent was the VIP Guest of Honour, and 200 delegates representing seven countries attended. Discussions with these countries are on-going.
Care for Children launched two significant new projects in 2012. The first was an expansion of the China project into 20 new project sites, with a focus on the western, poorer provinces. The second was the first project outside of China, in Thailand. A three-year project agreement was signed with the Department of Social Development and Welfare (in the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security) to develop family placement care in Thailand, beginning with a pilot project in Chiang Mai.