The Establishment a Welfare Service Delivery System for infants and Families in Poverty
Mapo-Gu Office

The Problem

A High Rate of Infants in Poverty and their Serious Psychological and Emotional Situations

According to annual reports released by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, Korea still struggles with approximately 5% of its infants and children (ages 0~8) in absolute poverty and about 10% of them in relative poverty.
A survey conducted by the same institute in 2008 demonstrates a serious gap between the children (ages 0~8) in absolute poverty and those in the next income bracket in the areas of memory, expression and vocabulary.
Parents in poverty lack adequate time to take care of their children because they are forced to continuously hunt for work outside. Infants and children in such an environment are often likely to show symptoms of attachment issues such as separation anxiety and conduct disorder, which will continue to distort their childhood development and pose serious problems in their adolescence.

A Lack of Child Welfare Policies and a Deficient Service Delivery System

The infancy and early childhood period (ages 0~7) is when children’s physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral development is rapidly formed. The development or a lack of development during this period influences a person’s entire life let alone the child’s development in later childhood stages. This period is also important because it is during this timeframe that parents start to detect any disabilities or challenges, physical or mental, in children with hopes to treat them successfully. Therefore, one cannot overemphasize the importance of an adequate amount of interaction between children and their parents and proper stimulus from them at this critical stage. A lack of sufficient interaction and attention inhibits children from growing up healthy, which develops into problems in families and society as a whole.
Although Korea has the Infant Care Act, it does not have an Infant Welfare Act. Child development requires concern and supervision beyond just childcare. It needs an integrated approach that covers such areas as welfare, education and psychology. Korea’s Infant Care Act focuses primarily on childcare facilities. Preventive welfare, though desirable, does not exist yet. Korea has neither legal framework nor policies for preventive child welfare. In addition, the government’s existing adult welfare programs focus on the lowest and second lowest income brackets, thereby in reality leaving a significant portion of children out in the cold.

Poverty Infant and Family Assistance Approaches in need of Reform

Services designed to ensure infants’ healthy growth and development must function as intended. However, they must also be based on correct approaches. Currently, Korea’s public services tend to focus more on outputs than outcomes. As they adopt a top-down approach, they are highly rigid. They often deteriorate the benefit recipients’ ability to solve their problems on their own while deepening their dependence on the welfare programs. They also manage to narrow the scope of their social interaction over time.
Mapo-gu aimed at addressing such shortfalls in the country’s overall public service regimes. It focused its infant support programs on empowering families to deal with their own challenges and establishing a social support system (a social support system & social capital) that gives families the resources to break the cycle of dependency.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
Positive Changes to Children and Families in Poverty and Communities as a Whole

Mapo-gu’s Integrated Infant and Child Support Program has brought affirmative changes to the lives of the infants and children, their families and the local communities.
Through the support project, a total of 400 households were selected for specific and steady support. The results of the three-year project implementation were gauged. In a quantitative analysis, the Vineland adaptive behavior scales showed improved communication, daily living skills, and socialization and motor skills in post-test results. In the DDST (Denver Developmental Screening Test), commonly known as the Denver Scale, the proportion of children suspected of having a developmental disability has considerably declined.
In a qualitative analysis using FGI (Focus Group Interview), children’s learning abilities improved and the program was instrumental in their habit formation and their overall positive child development.
Through the program implementation, parents were equipped with stronger confidence in child rearing. They expanded their relations with neighbors, public institutions and sponsors from an average of 10 to more than 20.

Establishment of a Universal and Permanent Support System for Children and Families

Mapo-gu established the Integrated Infant and Child Support Center based on a private-public partnership utilizing the expertise and community awareness of the private sector. A permanent support system for children and families in need was established through community input (CI) and the utilization of professionals and their expertise. A virtuous circle was established in the mobilization and distribution of local community resources.

Dissemination of the Infant and Child Welfare System through Published Manuals

Because there was no model for a welfare program for infants and children, Mapo-gu published a small number of manuals streamlining approaches and programs that have been distributed nationally.
The Health Manual teaches how to check the health status of infants and children. It also contains several tips about how parents and guardians can raise children in healthy environments. The Education Mediation Manual describes desirable methods of communication between parents and children. It also specifies ways of promoting children’s cognitive, emotional and behavioral development. There is also a Parenting Manual and a Cases Manual prepared by the district office.

Residents’ Conveniences Enhanced & Efficiency Boosted through Outreach Services

The program being implemented by Mapo-gu is also characterized by its outreach approach instead of a traditional method depending on potential recipients’ needs. Unlike any other public service program in the country, this particular program has adopted an innovative approach and as a result, significantly improved citizens’ conveniences and work efficiency.
The staff of Mapo Center went out to meet the infants and their family members in need. The staff identified their needs from a community-based perspective in the recipients’ homes and neighborhoods. They also set up support plans and self-reliance plans onsite. Program recipients showed a high rate of satisfaction with this approach.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
Community Chest of Korea Applied Community Change Strategies to Mapo-gu

The Integrated Infant and Child Support Program was initiated in 2007 by the country’s first contract between Mapo-gu and Community Chest of Korea (CCK). The civic group was to take charge of the program design while the district office was to be responsible for its operation and implementation. The program was significant in that the private and public sectors shared responsibilities of a project.

Mapo-gu Recognized Importance of Infants and Children in Poverty and Showed Determination to Solve the Problem

Mapo-gu decided that development within infancy and childhood goes on to seriously affect people in their adult lives and that it was crucial to intervene as early as possible to be able to prescribe some preventive measures before it is too late. This hopeful intervention is the main reason for the Mapo district’s decision to partner with CCK.
In 2010, after three years of the partnership, Mapo-gu held a gathering to report on the results. It elaborated on the changes the program had brought forth for the infants and children, their families and the local communities in the district. At the same time, the Mapo district declared that the program would continue even after the anticipated reduction of financial support from CCK.
Ms. Todd, in charge of individual donations at the United Way of America, who was visiting Korea to participate in an international education session organized by United Way Worldwide, visited Mapo-gu and commented on the program, “I am deeply moved by the fact that the government joined forces with a non-profit organization to support children from low income families.”

Community Stakeholders and Residents Joined Hands for a Support System

Through a discussion with CCK, Mapo-gu decided to set up a council that would take the leading role in promoting the establishment of the center. The organization was composed of heads of social welfare organizations, representatives of civic groups, residents and civil servants. It contained two sub-organizations. One was the Consultative Group, an assembly that makes major decisions. The other was the Working-level Group, an organization that promotes the daily operation of the center.
The center discussed its mission, vision and networking not only with the district office but also with private institutions and other stakeholders in the community. With major stakeholders, the center held key informant (KI) interviews in a snowball sampling pattern. With other institutions, groups and residents, the center carried out FGIs (focus group interviews).
This was not a unilateral promotion of the project by the district office. Discussions were held with a great variety of groups and institutions in the local community as well as residents. That way, the local community was able to actively participate in the process. More than anything else, a focus was placed on the mandate that the residents were the owners of the project and it was imperative that they play the leading role.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
Goals of the Project
The main goal of the project was the establishment of a service delivery system for the infants, children and their families suffering from severe poverty. The objectives of the project are as follows:

1. To establish an early support system for infants and children in need through a private-public sector partnership at a district level
2. To empower families in self-addressing problems associated with their infants and children and to establish a social support system (a social support system and social capital) that provides a permanent safety net for each family.

Major Strategies
The project has adopted the CI (Common Impact) strategy of the UWA (United Way of America) and the CI phases. The CI concept presented by the UWA is the mobilization of the entire caring capability of a community by creating sustainable changes, and ultimately improving the quality of life of all the residents in the community.
The CI phrase consist of the following: (1) The exploration of the community and the establishment of relationship (2) Cataloging major resources of the community (3) The establishment of partnership with the community (4) The formation of the community agenda (5) The establishment of partnership (6) The establishment of the mission and vision (7) A results-oriented implementation.
Mapo-gu began the project in 2008 when no concept of ‘infant and child welfare’ existed in the country. Mapo-gu intervened early in infancy and early childhood to ensure the children’s healthy growth. Families and the community together approached the child issues in an integrated way producing tangible results.

The caring capability of an entire local community mentioned in the CI is very similar to Korea’s traditional values: mutual help and mutual assistance.
The values call for mutual help between families and the community toward raising children together. Notably, in the establishment of a ‘community’ that supports child rearing and families, women’s strengths are fully valued. Women’s voices play a leading role in the creation of a child-friendly environment in a community.
Women in the project are not just service recipients. They are the leaders in eliciting changes in the community and families, which leads to the healthy growth of infants and children in the community.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The Project Development Stage
The project was jointly developed by CCK and Mapo-gu with the consensus that an infant and child welfare program was crucial. The two signed an agreement in November 2007 to jointly promote the program. Mapo-gu designated a department and assigned an official to be in charge of the program.
Following the initial planning stage, Mapo-gu established an expert council composed of specialists in childcare, welfare, medicine, education, psychology and networking for full professional support for the program. It also provided a 330㎡ office space and prepared operational rules. Mapo-gu hired staff to support the center (10 persons) and did its best to open the center in March 2008.

Organization based on Private-Public Partnership
Mapo-gu opened the center in March 2008 and was charged with organizing its operation systems.
Mapo-gu organized an operation council with experts, heads of related public institutions, persons in charge of fund raising, civil servants and residents. Based on a private-public partnership, Mapo-gu actively supported the project implementation.
According to the agreement with Mapo-gu, CCK provided 600 million won a year in project expenses for three years starting from 2008. Mapo-gu offered an office space and supported the office operations. The council subsequently promoted the project through discussions with the center.
The reason that a council was chosen as the actual control tower for the project was that Mapo-gu wanted the planning and implementation to be carried out by the community. The early intervention service for infants and children was effectively established on the basis of the private-public partnership and through role sharing between the two sectors.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Obstacles and Solutions

Differences in Ways of Doing Work and Understanding of Accomplishments between Private and Public Sectors

At the beginning, there were some difficulties caused by the differences in ways of doing things and in the understanding of accomplishments between the private and public sectors.
To reach a consensus on the service delivery methods, Mapo-gu continued to have discussions with CCK. They finally agreed on a bottom-up method and to hunt out potential benefit recipients to ensure the efficiency of the project.
The initial conflict was overcome through mutual trust based on a private-public partnership. The differences in the manners of working were settled as the infant and child welfare program started to bear results.
Currently the private and public sectors share the same perspectives on the accomplishments and ways of working while they work even harder to secure the sustainability of the program. The efforts are being positively evaluated both at home and abroad.

A Lack of Grounds for Project Promotion and Budget Allocation Due to No Legal

In Korea, the unfamiliarity with the notion of infant and child welfare translated into an incomplete institutional infrastructure for the implementation of the welfare system. Any legal framework or welfare service delivery system did not exist. Under the circumstances, Mapo-gu had to work out the legal grounds for budgetary support. It now works hard to publicize the project accomplishments to the municipal government and the Ministry of Health and Welfare for the development of legal framework at the national level.
Mapo-gu had an ordinance enacted by the city council. It provided for budgetary support for the integrated infant and child support program in 2011. The municipal government began an annual support of more than 100 million won in 2012. For the legislation at the National Assembly, Mapo-gu has become engaged in a legislative petition through the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the members of the National Assembly.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
Fiscal Resources
CCK granted 600 million won a year for three years between 2008 and 2010 according to an agreement with Mapo-gu. For two years between 2011 and 2012, it provided 350 million won. So, for the past five years, it has provided Mapo-gu with 2.15 billion won. Mapo-gu began to spend its own budget in 2011. It allocated 190 million won in 2011 and 200 million won in 2012. It is planning to support 300 million won a year starting in 2013.
In addition, Mapo-gu has provided an office of 330㎡ for three years since 2008, which could translate into 250 million won with 50 million won in rent per year. It has also supported the taxes and utilities bills for the office. An annual average of 100 million has been raised locally because of the project accomplishments.

Technical Resources
The strategy Mapo-gu adopted to establish an integrated infant and child support system was CI (community impact).
The center has applied the stage strategy recommended by CI phases as follows:
With KI (Key Informant) and FGI (Focus Group Interview), the center has identified the demand for infant and child issues in the local community, cataloged major resources from diverse sources, and managed them.
It has formed a strong partnership with the local community including residents, public institutions and organizations through numerous hearings and meetings.
Based on the results, the private and public sectors together set the agenda regarding the infant and child issues and set up a network with the people in medicine, welfare, childcare and psychology.
Efforts are being made to sustain the project results with various public institutions, organizations and residents that participate in the network.
Also, at the level of infants and children as well as their families, the major implementation tool is the enhancement of the capabilities of family members through strengths perspective case management designed to present fundamental problem solutions. The establishment of a community support system for the infants and children and the activation of social capital were also pursued as well.
Overall, the core technical resources were an organic combination of the community level involvement and the personal involvement with the infants, children and their families to improve the problem solving capabilities of the people concerned along with the establishment of a network and infrastructure to support it.

Human Resources
Given the characteristics of Korea that lack a sufficient infrastructure for welfare for infants and children, the project aims at expanding the welfare infrastructure for infants and children, activating a care network based on the center, and advancing welfare services for infants and children.
The center is the core organization responsible for the promotion of the integrated infant and child support project. It is staffed with 10 professionals.
They are seasoned social welfare specialists that include licensed social workers, nurses and preschool teachers. They have created a professional and sensitive service support system through multidisciplinary approaches.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Sustainability: A Model for Integrated Infant and Child Support through Private-Public Partnership

The sustainability of the project is high because Mapo-gu offers the basic operation funds and the local community sustains the necessary infrastructure and activates the support system. There was no infrastructure in Mapo-gu in 2008 when the project was launched. Officials scouted the entire district to seek various human and physical resources and establish a network with related institutions. Currently, sufficient infrastructure is established in each of the major areas of childcare, medicine, culture and welfare. The infrastructure, built upon mutual trust and reciprocity, is an important asset to maintain an integrated infant and child support system. Sustainability is secured not with resources coming from the outside, but with resources that exist internally and continue being activated in the community.

Dissemination Effects: A Model based on a Caring Community

Traditionally, child welfare has centered on children at school age. Specialized programs are needed to provide welfare services to infants and children in early childhood. Recently, the city of Seoul has been leading institutional attempts at creating Village Communities in the middle of the metropolitan area.
The Mapo-gu child welfare project can contribute to the campaign, potentially generating some synergy effects, because the former is centered on the recovery of a joint childcare system by the community.
The Mapo project can be a good model for an intensive child support program of the municipal government’s community care support system. If pursued in collaboration with the city government policies, the necessary budget can be easily secured and the goals for the community care support system can easily be achieved.
Other municipal and provincial governments in the country have benchmarked the Mapo center’s strategies, techniques and manuals. They have found that the Mapo-gu system is so well detailed in manuals that it is easily replicated.
So far, Sasang-gu and Yeoung-do-gu of Busan City; Dangjin, South Chungcheong Province; Goyang City, Gyeonggi Province; and Eunpyeong-gu, Gangdon-gu and Guro-gu, Seoul have visited Mapo-gu to benchmark the Mapo project. Recently, United Way Worldwide officials also paid a visit to the center.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The Importance of Establishing a Prevention-Oriented Infant and Child Welfare System Participated in by the Local Community

The welfare system has enabled infants, children and their families alienated from welfare benefits to live decently in the local community. That those children grow healthy and that other family members have changed for the better is the most important accomplishment of the project.
The saying that “It takes a village to raise a child” implies that an entire community must chip in to help a baby grow strong.
This project has triggered the whole community’s attention to infants and children born into low income families, improved the residents’ awareness about the welfare of infants and children, and promoted residents’ participation in the implementation of welfare benefits.
The project has also proven the importance of establishing a preventive welfare system rather than the treatment-oriented welfare policies after situations have deteriorated.
The lesson the promoters of the project have learned from the process is the necessity of the institutionalization of support measures for the delivery of integrated infant and child support services based on the private-public partnership in order to be able to promote the project non-stop.

Confirmed Importance of the Community Spirit: “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.”

Previously, when families were larger, families and the community joined hands in raising children. In modern times, because of broken human relations and increased nuclear families, families raise their children at home by themselves. They can hardly share their difficulties raising their children with others in the community.
Recently, the news media have reported that young moms have left their infants at home while playing computer games in PC bangs (commercial places in Korea for PC games). Such a tragedy happens partly because Korea has failed to create an atmosphere and environment to share child rearing with others in the community.
Mapo-gu has tried to form a Resident Community where children are raised together. It has provided parenting education through collaboration with local institutions. It has also promoted the exchange of labor for child rearing. Such efforts have produced significant results.
Mapo-gu’s success is not only because of experts’ efforts. More importantly, it is due to residents’ involvement. Specific cases and experiences can be shared with communities in the world.

Securing a Stable Basis for the Project through an Aggressive Private-Public Partnership

Many provincial and municipal governments are paying close attention to the factors that enabled the Mapo-gu system to be stabilized. The most important element was the sharing of roles between the private and public sectors, made possible through their aggressive partnership. Participants successfully overcame the initial difficulties and challenges associated with the partnership and stabilized the new collaborative way of deliveringwelfareservicestothecommunity.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Mapo-Gu Office
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Hee Ok Jo
Title:   a plan maker  
Telephone/ Fax:   +82-2-3153-8502/+82-2-3153-8549
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   212Worldcup-ro(Seongsan-dong) Mapo-Gu
Postal Code:   121-711
City:   Seoul

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