The Ministry of Civil Affairs held a press conference on the “14th Five-Year Civil Affairs Development Plan” on June 18, with officials outlining the ministry’s plan for social care and the civil society sector through 2025.
The plan specifies the following five goals for civil affairs development: overall enhancement of Party construction in civil affairs; further improvement in the system; significant progress in basic civil insurance, grassroots civil management, and essential social services; a notable reduction in urban-rural inequality, and evident growth in the modernization of civil affairs development.
Seven primary work focuses feature in the plan, with all civil society actors tasked with supporting the government’s agenda, including social organizations, social workers, volunteers, and charities. The work focuses are to provide public services for rural areas and promote rural development, to expand the supply of social assistance programs, to provide targeted support in Tibet and Xinjiang autonomous regions, to supply innovative community support, to provide marriage and family education, to proactively participate in minor protection programs, and to fulfill the diverse demands of providing elderly care.
Aside from laying out general goals for the next five years, the plan outlines and explains the work agenda in detail.
According to information released at the press conference, by the end of 2020, the total number of social work professionals had reached 1.57 million. Among them, 660,000 social workers held the appropriate qualifications. The plan specifies a target of having two million social workers by 2025.
It also emphasizes three focuses for improving the social work system:
- To construct a social work service system: the government will lead and promote civil society actors from communities to counties in rural areas to accelerate the building of the social work system.
- To enhance the capability of social work service institutions: the government will lead the institutions to formulate standards and guidelines. The institutions should prioritize services for senior citizens, people with disabilities, children experiencing difficulties, people “left behind” in rural areas, migrant workers, and domestic violence victims through education and counseling.
- To expand the cohort of professional social workers: the government will support higher education institutions to strengthen professional degrees in social work and optimize curriculums. The government will also encourage frontline social workers to improve their professional abilities to obtain corresponding professional qualifications and establish training systems accordingly.