Abstract: Breaking the Cycle: An Integrative Intervention of the Child Development Account Programs for Poverty Alleviation in China (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

Breaking the Cycle: An Integrative Intervention of the Child Development Account Programs for Poverty Alleviation in China

Saturday, January 19, 2019: 11:15 AM
Golden Gate 7, Lobby Level (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Suo Deng, PhD, Associate Professor, Peking University, Beijing, China
Background: China’s new strategies on poverty relief focus on accurately targeting poor households in rural areas. The implementation of the new plan largely follows the conventional economic growth logic that focuses more on the household’s income generation than addressing the poverty risk and building the poor’s capability for the their long-term development. Limited attention has been given to how resources benefit children’s development and potential in breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Based on two innovative programs targeting vulnerable children in Shan’xi, China, this study demonstrates a child-centered poverty reduction model featured with the integration of CDAs in a series of household support services. The asset-based policy perspective that focuses on asset building from the early stage of the life has important implications for poverty alleviation in China.

Methods: Both small-scale CDA programs implemented in Shan’xi Province are targeted at vulnerable children and families from rural areas, aiming to promote asset building of disadvantaged children and families while contributing to the overall poverty alleviation plan. We adopt a participatory evaluation approach to examine the outcomes, effects and challenges of the CDA programs. Participatory research on the programs involved in reflecting and assessing the whole program implementation processes and effects. Focus Group Discussions and in-depth interviews were conducted with key stakeholders, including participating children and their families, case managers, agency leaders, representatives of financial institution and governments who supported to the program. Other data sources were from case records, document review and observation of activities, etc. With the agreement of the participants, some interviews were taped and transcribed afterward. All qualitative data, including transcripts, ethnographic notes, and bibliographic data, were systematically coded for subsequent analysis. The researcher adopts a grounded theory approach to data analysis (Strauss, 1987). 

Results: The participatory assessment shows Children participating in the program have gained more positive development prospective, including stronger future orientation and higher educational aspiration. Additionally, through asset building for children’s long-term development, the households as a whole have had enhanced capabilities to tackle different poverty issues, including better access to financial services and improved livelihood strategies. Finally, the implementation of the programs showcases an effective work model in promoting community resource integration and inter-organizational collaboration in poverty reduction.

Conclusions: The implementation of the CDAs is aimed at responding to the challenges of poverty alleviation in the current China’s context. It has positive impacts on the capability building of the children and family as a whole, which also has great implications for the targeted poverty alleviation strategies proposed by the Chinese government. The CDA programs targeted not simply at single domain of children’s development, but also capability of the whole family by enhancing the family’s financial planning and parenting skills. The integrative CDA programs also place great emphasis on co-production of service delivery, involving multiple stakeholders’ participation and mobilization of various resources, from the service user perspective. The implementation of piloted CDA programs, although still ongoing, has important implications for China’s poverty alleviation strategies in the new era of socioeconomic development.