For the past 15 years Shijiazhuang Children Protection and Education Centerhas specialized in educating and caring for the children with incarcerated parents. The program aims to offer stability to disadvantaged children and, since its inception, has cared for 1,223 youngsters 90 percent of whom have succeeded in society following the center’s support.
As one Shijiazhunag policeman put it during an official government visit to the center,
"Children without competent guardians often end up struggling and some even enter prison when they grow up.”
Given the high stakes for the children involved, the decisions made by the center prove critical and here we examine some of the main techniques employed by the Shijiazhuang Children Protection and Education Center to best benefit those it protects.
A secure, stable, and education positive environment
Shijiazhuang Children Protection and Education Center provides a comfortable and healthy living environment for children and offers a strong educational foundation.
Shijiazhuang Children Protection and Education Center has developed its own education system which is divided into six levels according to age and ability to suit a variety of educational needs. This system helps to support children across a range of needs and abilities.
One success story is that of Xiao Bing who dropped out of school on account of poor family finances after his mother was sent to prison. In order to support his family, Xiao began working in construction but after being put in touch with Shijiazhuang Children Protection and Education Center he was able to return to education. He eventually placed first in his grade and has continued his pathway in education.
Helping children overcome psychological problems
Shijiazhuang Children Protection and Education Center has devised its own books that offer solutions to some of the many challenges facing its children, including problems of self-worth, communication problems, and a distain for authority. The center hires psychologists to provide professional psychological consultation for children, which plays an important role in creating a positive and healthy environment.
One example of this work being successfully implemented came with 8-year-old Tongtong. Having rejected talking to people upon her arrival at Shijiazhuang Children Protection and Education Center, teachers created a special program for Tongtong which helped her to communicate and eventually befriend many of the other children.
Hold parent-children activities
A series of parent-children activities initiated by Shijiazhuang Children Protection and Education Center and local prison system have proved very successful.
Furthermore, Shijiazhuang center organizes inmates' children to write letters to parents once a month and facilitates visits every three months. Another relationship building activity is the annual gala that helps to inspire child to parent communication and understanding.
Many believe these types of activities help to encourage good inmate behavior with over 95 percent of the inmates receiving sentence reductions on account of commendable behavior.
One of the challenges taken on by Shijiazhuang Children Protection and Education Center is reconnecting lost children to their families.
One such example is that of Zhang Taotao, who fell victim to human trafficking at a young age. Having been found and supported by the center for three years, the center eventually managed to find Zhang’s parents.
During the interim, the center not only provided Zhang with educational and living support, but crucially psychologically help as Zhang had understandably suffered a great deal on account of his separation and poor treatment.