Child protection in China

Posted on 19 December 2017

Nina Biehal presents at the International Symposium on Child Welfare and Protection in Haikou, China.

Professor Nina Biehal

Held on 5 and 6 December, the syposium was an opportunity to share international knowledge of child protection systems and local experience in service development. Professor Nina Biehal, of the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, presented findings from the Hestia project's comparative analysis, highlighting the cross-cutting elements of child protection policy and systems England, the Netherlands and Germany.

The aim of the symposium was to give Western and Chinese academics, local government and NGOs an opportunity to discuss approaches to child protection. It is a first step towards establishing child protection policies and systems in China, in what is likely to be a lengthy process.

Child abuse and neglect have historically received little attention in China. The country has a large number of orphans, and 'left-behind' children in rural areas whose parents have migrated to the city. However, media attention to child deaths from abuse, and the recently-identified abuse of children in institutions such as nurseries, have led to growing public concern. This year, for the first time, the need to address the problem of child maltreatment was mentioned during the annual Congress of the Communist Party of China, but there is currently no policy framework to underpin service development.

The International Symposium on Child Welfare and Protection was jointly funded and organised by UNICEF, the China Philanthropy Research Institute and the University of Chicago in Beijing. The Hestia project is funded by the Norface Welfare State Futures research programme.