Abstract: Policy Innovation and Policy Realization: The Example of Children Future Education and Development Account in Taiwan (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

Policy Innovation and Policy Realization: The Example of Children Future Education and Development Account in Taiwan

Saturday, January 19, 2019: 10:15 AM
Golden Gate 7, Lobby Level (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Li-Chen Cheng, PhD, professor, National Taiwan university, Taiwan
Background: In 2017, Taiwan announced its CDA policy to build assets for the poor and fostered children, title as the Children Future Education and Development Accounts (CFEDAs). the CFEDAs is designed to help the poor and fostered children to escape from economic hardship of their families of origin through long term matched savings and to increase the chance of getting higher education and career development in their adulthood. This paper presents about what the scheme structure of the CFEDAs look like, how an innovative policy idea of building assets for the poor became a policy proposal, what kind of forces driving to prioritize the CFEDAs in the government policy agenda.

Methods: Using the administrative data on program participation, this single intrinsic case study takes an in-depth, multi-faceted exploration on the CDA policy development in Taiwan. It reflects the history of asset-building programs in Taiwan, defines the problem assessed by the CFEDAs, describes program features, and identifies future policy challenges.

Results: The beneficiaries of the CFEDAs are children born after January 1, 2016 whose families are enlisted as low income households officially and who are orphaned and placed in foster care over two years. Each eligible participant could receive a deposit of NT$10,000 (US$1=30) as an opening fund starting on June of 2016. To start making deposits, each participant could choose among the three fixed saving levels of NT$500, NT$1,000, and NT$1,250 as a monthly deposit level. And the fixed deposit levels are subject to change every year by application. The government would match the savings one to one ratio with a maximum of NT$15,000 per year. The parents or legal guardians would receive a bank statement every half year to know the total amount of their deposits and matched savings. Each participant could not withdraw the savings money except for particular reasons for unable to continue, for example, children deaths, serious health problems, and personal considerations. The CFEDAs has started up its recruitment on June 1, 2017. According to the official data, there are 9,003 children eligible for participating in the scheme. Until November 23, 2017, there are already 2,529 families registering to open accounts for their children. Several strategies are used to encourage every eligible children participating in the scheme.

Conclusion: It is a long-term accumulation process from the CDA policy innovation toward its policy realization in Taiwan. In the process of policy realization, problem steam (e.g., child poverty), policy stream (e.g., local practices of asset-building programs), and politics stream (e.g.,, student demonstration ) are all important driving forces. Future challenges include program funding, legislative approval, and program enrollment.