Children’s rights and residential care in Taiwan: An exploration of the tensions between global standards and culturally situated practices

Wan-Yu Chiu & Helen Charnley - International Social Work


This article examines the tension between the rhetoric of children’s rights and the realities of residential care for children in Taiwan. After reviewing Chinese and English literature, we present an empirical study of children’s experiences of life in residential care, drawing on participant observation, participatory arts-based activities and semi-structured interviews with 50 children in two homes. Breaking new ground, we reveal children’s accounts of happiness and unhappiness with institutional living, their strategies for developing resilience, and their understanding and experiences of children’s rights. We discuss the implications of these findings for social work policy, practice and research.