Community Outreach – Changsha city, China
Although China is experiencing rapid economic growth there remains a deficit in social welfare for the disadvantaged, especially the disabled. Hundreds of thousands of babies and children with disabilities continue to be abandoned each year.
ICC believes that WHERE a child lives should not dictate IF that child lives.
Specialized training for Chinese nationals working in social welfare is limited and many have little or no understanding of how to care for those with special needs. This leads to high child mortality rates. In many state-run orphanages there could be up to four babies in one small crib, and typically one caregiver left to take care of an overcrowded area with children who have varying degrees of disabilities.
When things become too overwhelming for caregivers experience shows that apathy is a typical response, which leads to the neglect, malnutrition and, eventually, death of children.
Founded in 1993 by David Gotts, International China Concern (ICC) exists to help the disadvantaged live life to the full. They believe every child is precious and has the right to be loved, to have hope for the future, and the opportunity to realize their dreams.
ICC works in two provinces in China (Hunan and Henan) and has two key focus areas across four project locations:
- Residential Care Services through the provision of group homes, medical services, therapy, education and vocational training
- Bringing an end to Abandonment through community education, public awareness, parent support and outreach programmes
Independent assessment has revealed that ICC’s experience and services being delivered through working with the abandoned and disabled is recognised as being the best in-country. In the Hunan Province, where three of ICC’s projects are located, the Chinese Government are now modelling their Social Welfare platforms on everything seen and learned through ICC.
In 2015, ICC carried out a fully documented research project to better understand the needs of families who have children of disability. From these key findings ICC strategically stepped into a process of re-engineering their Community Outreach Projects and a new 3-year contract was signed with the local authority, the Shou Xing Street Community Committee (Kai Fu District). This re-envisioned Community Outreach Programme holds at its centre a key focus towards building sustainable families with support services that carry children, youth and young adults into a future where opportunities of inclusiveness are prominent.
ICC applied to UCF for a grant of $2,000 to directly fund two important aspects directly supporting families:
- Family Care Services – Family Care Services that deliver intimate 1:1 support to families in their homes is critical to creating stability and confidence within the family unit. ICC knows that the earlier they can offer support to a family then the higher the likelihood of preventing early abandonment. Family Care Services would see trained social workers connecting through up to 4 home visits per week, reaching up to 8 families to evaluate disability, refer to suitable services and provide general social work supports; and
- Parent Support Groups – Parent Support Groups encompass the creation and delivery of up to ten (10) Parent Support Groups that are specifically developed and run to build the skills of parents within the community who have a child of disability. Parent Support Groups are built on a mix of group programmes that include whole family activities, personal growth and development classes and training around their child’s disability.
In the Section 3b. of the grant application where UCF asks applicants for expected outcome measures, ICC stated:
When asked the annual budget for the project, ICC stated that the 2017 annual budget for Phase 1 of the Community Outreach Project is $66,667 AUD but provided this breakdown of the Family Care Services and Parent Support Group component:
Although ICC only requested the usual grant maximum of $2,000 – due to the clarity and detail provided in the ICC application – the UCF Board exercised their discretion and decided to grant the total cost of these two aspects of the Community Outreach programme i.e. $2,412.
This is the second small grant that UCF has awarded to International China Concern. ICC’s first application in 2015, was approved for $2,000 which represented 70% of the medical care cost component of $2,729 to ensure that the holistic health, medical and hospitalization needs of 21 children were met.