Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 10:
Social Welfare
Major Achievements
Social Welfare Programmes
Clinical Psychological Services
Voluntary Work
Subventions and Service Monitoring
Information Technology
Enhancing Social Capital: Community Investment and Inclusion Fund
Women's Commission
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Major Achievements

Targeted Efforts to Strengthen Support for Families in Need

The Government focuses its efforts on promoting family harmony. It adopts a family-oriented policy and is committed to preserving and strengthening family units, nurturing caring interpersonal relationships among family members and empowering individuals and families to resolve their problems.

Apart from continuing its normal welfare service, the Government reaches out to needy families, especially those who are socially isolated or unwilling to approach welfare units. The SWD launched the Family Support Programme in various service units to maintain regular contacts with these vulnerable families through home visits, telephone contacts, and other outreach services.

Over the year, the SWD has implemented a series of measures to strengthen its services and support for victims of domestic violence. In providing specialised treatment services for this sector, additional resources were allocated for a two-year pilot project, the Batterer Intervention Programme (BIP), which was launched by the SWD and an NGO in January. Under the project, group intervention is provided to batterers to control violent behaviour so as to reduce recurrence of violence and to safeguard the victims. Through service re-engineering as well as allocation of new resources, the SWD had increased the manpower provision for the Family and Child Protective Services Units (FCPSUs). The number of teams was increased from six to eight in April. Eight additional psychologists were employed to strengthen the service. Additional funding was also allocated to strengthen public education, training and district liaison work to deal with increasing domestic violence. Support services particularly at night rendered by the Family Crisis Support Centre was enhanced and the number of residential places of the four Refuge Centres for Women were also increased from 162 to 172.

Employment Assistance for Single Parents and Child Carers

The SWD launched an employment assistance scheme called the New Dawn (ND) Project in April to help single parents and child carers on Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), whose youngest child is aged between 12 and 14. The project offers employment assistance to this group so that they may become self-reliant. In addition to the employment assistance services provided by the SWD, NGOs were commissioned to run 20 ND Intensive Employment Assistance Projects which provide no fewer than 4 000 recipients with intensive employment assistance. At year-end, a total of 6 947 participants had received help under the project.

Partnership Fund for the Disadvantaged

A Partnership Fund for the Disadvantaged (PFD) was set up in March 2005 to promote a tripartite partnership comprising the Government, the business sector and welfare NGOs to help disadvantaged people. Administered by the SWD, the fund provides grants to match donations in cash or kind made by the business sector, to help NGOs conduct social welfare projects. There were two rounds of applications and 43 projects were approved. Some $13 million granted by the PFD were matched by $16 million worth of donations from the business sector. About 120 000 disadvantaged people benefitted from the projects. Applications from a third round of submissions are being processed.

Enrolled Nurse Training Programme for the Welfare Sector

As an interim measure to address the shortage of nurses in the welfare sector, particularly where services are provided for the elderly and for the rehabilitation of people with disabilities, the SWD, assisted by the Hospital Authority, launched a two-year training programme for full-time Enrolled Nurse (General)/Enrolled Nurse (Psychiatric). The first was launched in March and the other in November. The two programmes provided a total of 220 training places, with priority given to those currently working in the sector. Tuition fees are paid by the SWD, but graduates would have to work in the welfare sector for at least two years after graduation.

New Community Support Services for People with Disabilities

The SWD set up day centres in October to rehabilitate patients with mental, neurological or physical impairments who have left hospital. The service includes rehabilitation programmes to facilitate these former patients' early integration into the community and to lead a normal life as far as possible. Training and support for family members and caregivers who look after severely disabled persons are also provided in these centres.

Voluntary Registration Scheme for Private Residential Care Homes for the Disabled

To encourage operators of private residential care homes for the disabled (PRCHDs) to improve the quality of their service, a Registration Office of Private Residential Care Homes for the Disabled (ROPRCHD) was set up in September under the SWD to implement a Voluntary Registration Scheme (VRS). Information about registered PRCHDs can be seen in the SWD's website.

Visiting Medical Practitioner Scheme

Recurrent funding of around $10 million per annum has been allocated to the Visiting Medical Practitioner Scheme which is available to all residential care homes for the disabled (RCHDs). These homes are run, or supervised by the SWD. Operators of these homes are required to have a service contract with doctors drawn from the private sector to provide primary medical care to residents of RCHDs.

District Support Scheme for Children and Youth Development

The Government allocates $15 million annually to the SWD to provide direct cash assistance and implement projects under the District Support Scheme for Children and Youth Development to meet the developmental needs of children and youth in deprived circumstances, which cannot be satisfied by their families and/or the mainstream education systems.

Strengthening District Welfare Planning and Coordination

A protocol is in place to assist the department's District Social Welfare Officers to carry out their duties effectively in the districts, in analysing district welfare needs, formulating and implementing district welfare plans as well as collaborating with NGOs and local groups. The protocol is reviewed regularly.

Based on a review of the District Coordinating Committee (DCC) mechanism and a pilot project in Kwun Tong, the existing DCC mechanism to coordinate service-specific issues is to be maintained. At the same time, a district welfare coordination mechanism was adopted by five administrative districts, namely, Southern, Kwun Tong, Shamshuipo, Yuen Long and Wong Tai Sin/Sai Kung, in 2006 to enhance cross-sector and cross-service collaboration in the district. The remaining seven districts will take it on board in 2007-08.

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