China needs nearly one million more professional social workers by 2020 as rapid urbanization creates groups in need.
Minister of Civil Affairs Li Liguo said on March 15, which marks World Social Work Day, that the country has graduated 500,000 professional social workers and created more than 180,000 social work jobs.
There are 4,686 private social work institutions in the country, Li said.
According to a blueprint on developing human resources in social work for 2011 to 2020, the total number of social workers is expected to reach 1.45 million by 2020.
Li said poverty alleviation is the central task of professional social work.
Professional social workers help with poverty reduction in rural areas, providing services to migrant workers and children as well as elderly left behind in the countryside by parents or adult children seeking work in cities.