D. Lam and F. Cheng
Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 30, 2008, p. 575-584
In 1995 the Ministry of Civil Affairs in the People's Republic of China established the Protection and Education Centre for Street Children (PEC) programme. By 2006, 130 protection and education centres were in operation in large cities. Through PECs, the state provides temporary basic care for street children and arranges for them to be returned to their parents whenever possible. If the parents cannot be located, the children will be transferred to government-run child welfare institutions. This article presents an ethnographic study of street children using the protection and education centre in Shanghai. The study shows that most children disliked the high security of the centre and had rejected the idea of going home to abusive or uncaring families. They therefore tended to keep away from the centre although it could provide them with lodging and food.