SAN FRANCISCO (April 11, 2022) — The Dui Hua Foundation is pleased to announce the completion of an expert exchange on child welfare laws with China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC). The event, which took place on April 7, sought to increase understanding of children’s rights and best practices in the application of law in China and the United States.
This was the eighth collaboration between Dui Hua and the SPC on juvenile justice. It is believed to be the first exchange on child welfare laws in the two countries.
Judges, social workers, and legal experts from both countries shared current protocols for involving children in the legal system with the goal of ensuring their protection. Eight legal experts, four each from the United States and China, delivered presentations on child welfare laws in the two countries. John Kamm, Executive Director of Dui Hua, hosted the event. Retired Judge Len Edwards from Santa Clara, California, moderated the US-focused segment of the event and Dr. Jiang Jihai moderated the China-focused segment.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Jiang Jihai, Director of the Juvenile Office of the Research Department of SPC, gave an overview of the development of child welfare legislation in China and cited Dui Hua’s unique relationship with the Chinese court:
Since 2008, we have maintained close exchanges in the field of juvenile justice. In the past decade, we have held seven rounds of seminars and discussions, which served as a crucial platform where the courts of both countries shared their experience and learned from each other.
Panelists presenting for China included: Li Chen, Deputy Director, Division of Supervision of Minors’ Protection, Child Welfare Department, Ministry of Civil Affairs; Chen Haiyi, Standing Member of the Adjudication Committee, Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court, Guangdong; Judge Song Ying, Deputy Chief Judge, Juvenile Division, Beijing High People’s Court; and Judge Wang Wei, Deputy Chief Judge, First Criminal Division, Jiangsu High People’s Court.
Panelists presenting for the United States included: Howard Himes, Consultant and Former Director of Social Services in Napa County, California; Judge Roger Chan, San Francisco County Juvenile Court and Chairperson, Juvenile Court Judges of California; Judge Marian Gaston, Assistant Presiding Judge, San Diego County Juvenile Court; and Judge Jerilyn Borack, Presiding Judge, Sacramento County Juvenile Court.
Panelists from both countries emphasized key concepts for protecting the rights of the child, such as requiring mandatory reporting of abuse for individuals who work closely with minors and employing state removal of a child from family guardianship only as a last resort.
Beyond general principles, Chinese experts provided details on the country’s child social service programs, which expanded through the 2019 creation of the Child Welfare Department of the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Other key topics included the application of domestic violence laws and the history of juvenile courts in China.
US experts shared insights into the procedures for bringing child abuse cases to court, the rights of children and parents to legal counsel, and the importance of the goal of reunification in juvenile dependency cases.
Despite fraught US-China relations, and the suspension of the US-China human rights dialogue in 2016, Dui Hua’s exchanges with the SPC represent one of the few channels for discussing human rights, including the rights of the child. The two sides are committed to continuing their cooperation.
For more information, please contact Dui Hua.