The policy network of foster care in Guangzhou, China : structure, interaction, and governance

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The policy network of foster care in Guangzhou, China : structure, interaction, and governance

 

Author: Lu, Wei
Title: The policy network of foster care in Guangzhou, China : structure, interaction, and governance
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2013
Subject: Foster children -- Services for -- China -- Guangzhou Shi
Foster children -- Government policy -- China -- Guangzhou Shi
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: ix, 157, [17] leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2653087
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7286
Abstract: Ever since foster care was formally implemented by the central government in 2000 as an important component of China's child welfare reforms, many cities have developed their own models according to local contexts. Non-governmental welfare agencies and related professional and social groups participate actively in foster care programs and contribute significantly to the government-led child welfare reforms. However, coordination among these agencies and groups has become an urgent issue that needs to be tackled. Employing an analytical framework derived from policy network and new institutionalism, this study investigates the relationships among government agencies, non-governmental organizations, professional bodies, and social groups in providing foster care services in Guangzhou. The research addresses four questions. First, who are the actors in the foster care policy network and what are the characteristics of the network structure? Second, how do the actors in the policy network interact with each other and under what action logics? Third, can features of the policy network structure explain the network institutional system, based on each actor's action logics? Finally, to what extent have the conditions of network governance been achieved in the sub-network of government purchase of foster care services in Guangzhou? The research is an explanatory and instrumental case study of the foster care system in Guangzhou. Qualitative data were collected through participant observation and in-depth interviews with the four core actors in the foster care policy network: the Guangzhou Child Welfare Institute (GCWI), the Half the Sky Foundation (HSF), the Growth Dynamics Social Work Professional Development and Resources Centre (GDC), and a group of foster parents. Archives in the three agencies were also reviewed. The data were synthesized and coded to describe the features of the policy network and the interactions of its core actors, to reveal each actor's action logics, and to explain the logics of the institutional system and the network governance.
The foster care policy network in Guangzhou features three major structural characteristics: clear boundary of membership, moderate but efficient network cohesion, and structured and stable resource allocation. The core actors in the policy network act based on different logics: GCWIadministration; HSF and GDCsurvival; and foster parentsemployment. The actors' multi-logics interact and form the multi-logical institution system, which can be attributed to the three characteristics of the policy network structure. Concerning policy network governance, among the three conditions of interdependence, standardization, and autonomy, only interdependence is fulfilled in the sub-network of government purchase of foster care services in Guangzhou. This study reveals that although the foster care policy network in Guangzhou was formed during the child welfare reforms, coordination and management of the network are far from the level required by network governance. The findings stress the importance of integrating the structure and behavior perspectives in understanding how the policy participants' interactions at the micro level reflect the network structure's characteristics at the macro level. Further, the research demonstrates the value of this integrative approach for analyses of other policy domains during the socialization of social welfare reform in China.

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