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Improving the potential of children with disabilities at a Chinese orphanage

1 January 2011


The Fuling Social Welfare Institute is located in Fuling, China in the countryside high above the city. It originally opened in 1998 as a 2 room facility in the middle of Fuling providing care for children and elderly without families. This facility quickly became too small and inefficient for the growing number of children, particularly children with disabilities. Anticipating the day when most of China's orphans will be primarily children with disabilities and unlikely to be adopted, Fuling orphanage directors and Chongqing Civil Affairs Authorities came together and developed a plan for a premier facility for the kids. A 16 and 1/2 acre plot of land was purchased to build a new orphanage site. In 2008, construction of the new orphanage site began designed with the complex needs of the children in mind. The dream for this institute is to provide the highest level of quality care in a beautiful and welcoming setting for children and adolescents. In 2008, the first children moved into this new site to live. It is expected that this orphanage will be home to over 800 children, most with disabilities.

Today the orphanage faces the challenge of a growing number of children with special needs. Cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, and various mental disabilities not well diagnosed are common conditions seen within the orphanage. These caregivers have limited knowledge and experience working with developmental disabilities. Their future goal is to provide excellent therapy and care for the children living at the orphanage and to find loving foster families for as many children as possible.


In 2009 a group of physical and occupational therapists from Pacific University traveled to Fuling, China to start the therapeutic collaboration. Additional therapists returned in 2010 to provide initial care and treatment to children living in the orphanage and foster care. Now in 2011 the therapy team has grown into an interdisciplinary partnership including special education and occupational therapy students.


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