The Lived Experiences of Children in Care with the Going Home Process in a Chinese Context: An Exploratory Study

Mooly M. Wong*
Department of Social Work the Chinese University of Hong Kong Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong

© Mooly M. Wong; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author Department of Social Work the Chinese University of Hong Kong Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong; Tel: (852) 3943-7514; Fax: (853) 2603-5018; E-mail:



This study revealed, through their narrations, the changes in the lived experiences of children who resided in residential childcare services regarding the going home process in a Chinese context.


The research design is that of a panel study of a qualitative nature. Eight children, aged from 9 to 18, were interviewed at three different points during the process of going home. The data were collected through in-depth interviews, supplemented by the use of reflective photography. Data were analyzed by three narrative approaches - macrostructure, plot development and theme.


The findings indicated that the children’s lived experience with the going home process was a path of stabilization, which meant that their sense of control over their lives was increasing from the first to the second to the third wave of data collection. The children’s stories were progressive, with their narrations characterized by advancement. Three themes, namely “uncertainty”, “restoration” and “challenge”, emerged at three points in time, with distinctive concerns and feelings occurring in each stage.


Their experiences reflected the dominant discourses on children, particularly on disadvantaged children such as children in care. These children are constructed by Chinese society as innocent, lacking knowledge and powerless culturally and socially. Alternative discourses on children as knowledgeable, resourceful and active agents were identified in this study, which shed light on child welfare policy and practice.

Keywords: Child welfare, Children in care, Chinese, Going home, Narrative, Social constructionist framework.