The Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University in St. Louis and long-time partner Peking University (PKU) in Beijing have begun collaborating on a new endeavor: Savings accounts for children with disabilities in China.
CSD International Director Li Zou discussed this new project with PKU researchers during a visit to Beijing in June. The China Social Work Research Center at PKU invited Zou to speak as part of the Social Work Salon Seminar Series. She spoke on social policy and asset-building innovation, primarily focusing on asset-based policy and program development in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. Zou’s talk stimulated discussion about prospects for growth regarding asset-based policy in China – including the program targeting youth with disabilities.
According to the Chinese National Blueprint for Child Development with the core principle of “children first,” all levels of government prioritize their work to strengthen and promote children’s wellbeing and development. The concept of asset building matches with the new national investment on human capital for China’s future. “Children and youth with disabilities are one of the most vulnerable populations and deserve a chance to accumulate assets for their long-term development,” Zou said.
This is the latest in a long list of collaborative work by CSD and PKU, including a conference held in November 2012 on asset building in Asia. At this conference, people from 14 countries reviewed research on asset-building initiatives throughout the region. Products from the 2012 conference include a special issue of the China Journal of Social Work, as well as books in both English and Chinese, published by Taylor & Francis in the United Kingdom and Peking University Press. For more information about the conference, please click here.
Zou also began to establish a new partnership for CSD during her trip to Beijing, when she accepted an invitation to deliver Beihang University’s inaugural Social Security Seminar. This talk also covered asset-building policy, emphasizing the theoretical foundation and international practices. The dean of Beihang’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, ZHENG Xiaoqi, and Professor JIA Hongbo, associate director of the Institute of Social Security, expressed a strong desire to collaborate with CSD on research and policy efforts in China.