Lawmakers have urged the government to beef up measures to prevent child abuse at foster homes, following a scandal at the Children’s Residential Home in Prince Edward in which more than 30 former staff had been prosecuted.
The legislators – from Legco’s Panel on Welfare services – made the remarks after visiting the foster home, which has since undergone management reform and replaced its frontline carers.
The DAB’s Ben Chan, who chairs the panel, said while he's glad to see the changes, more needs to be done to ensure similar incidents don’t happen again.
"We suggest the care home to [make] necessary changes, especially in their culture, and try to improve their measures on [handling] complaints," he said, adding that the government should also do more to retain talent in the sector.
"Because for these kinds of work, it is quite difficult to hire people... and it is quite a professional work."
Bill Tang from the Federation of Trade Unions, meanwhile, said authorities should encourage more NGOs to run child care facilities to diversify and improve the quality of services.
"We think it's quite high-risk to give all resources to one or two NGOs to take care of residential child care services. We urge the government to try their best to encourage more professional NGOs to provide such services to try to make the risks [lower]," he said.
Chief Executive John Lee said on Tuesday the government will increase inspections at residential children's homes. He said offenders of child abuse must be held accountable.