One country, two welfare regimes

umelb_logoContemporary China Seminar Series – University of Melbourne

One country, two welfare regimes: transition to adulthood of grown-up young people cared for by the State in China
Professor Shang Xiaoyuan, University of New South Wales

5.30-7.00pm Thursday 15 September, 2016
Evan Williams Theatre (Room G03), Richard Berry Building, Monash Road, University of Melbourne

Admission is free, but places are limited so registration is essential

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This research examines the economic security achieved by young people (with or without disabilities) from state care in China in their transition to adulthood. The main findings are: China actually has two welfare regimes. Children in state care enjoy comprehensive welfare provision from “cradle to grave” from the state, except independent living. However, outside the state child welfare institution, there are very limited welfare services available to the children who want to leave and live independently. Many young people fail to transition to independent adult living and have to be dependent on the state child welfare institution for a long time. The research suggests that the policy must clearly define the period covered by the comprehensive state welfare provision to these children, and change the policy goals to “support independent living”. The improvement of general social welfare provision to Chinese people will reduce the difficulties facing these young people (especially the ones with disabilities cared for by the Chinese state), and support them in their transition to adulthood.

Xiaoyuan Shang research interests are in the areas of social welfare and child protection in China. Her recent research has focused on issues associated with the alleviation of poverty, social services for vulnerable groups including the elderly, disabled people and vulnerable children in China.

In 2001 and 2005 Dr Shang played a central role in leading a research team to conduct two important large-scale investigations on Children in Institutions and Other Forms of Alternative Care in China, and The Needs of HIV/AIDS Affected Children in China, for UNICEF and the MCA. In 2005 to 2009, Dr Shang organized the first national investigation of orphaned children in China. In 2003 Dr Shang was awarded the Alice Tay Human Rights Award by the Australia-China Council for her significant contribution to improving the understanding of child rights in China. Her work has attracted a great deal of attention to the situation of orphaned children in China, and directly led to two important policy changes: (1) a policy change from institutional care to foster care for orphaned children in state children’s welfare institutions, and (2) the establishment of a new social assistance system for orphans in rural China.