The Chinese government opened the door for faith-based organisations to provide public services in 2005. However, faith-based social work services remain an understudied research field. This article begins with a literature review of the institutional environment for faith-based organisations and addresses three issues: the types of faith-based social work organisations that have emerged in China; the development of faith-based social work organisations; and the implications of their rise for the development of social work as a profession in China. By analysing longitudinal data collected from 2006 to 2019, this article identifies three models of faith-based social service organisations that have emerged and developed in China: (i) traditional faith-based organisations that hire social workers; (ii) grassroots social service organisations that are supported by religious bodies; and (iii) grassroots social service organisations that are operated by religious social workers with no affiliation to religious bodies. Although most of the organisations obtain public funding partially from the government, findings have shown that organisations of the third model type have the most diverse funding sources and have developed minimal dependency on the government. With trust and support from diverse stakeholders, faith-based organisations of the third model type appear to be suitable placement agencies providing social work students with employment and the value base to reflect critically their personal faith and social work values in China's unique sociopolitical context.


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pp. 123-140
Launched on MUSE
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