'More help on way for SAR's 900 foster families' - RTHK
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'More help on way for SAR's 900 foster families'

2023-03-31 HKT 12:17
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  • 'More help on way for SAR's 900 foster families'
Director of Social Welfare Charmaine Lee on Friday said the government would offer more support to families who foster children and encourage more people to become foster parents as part of its response to a child abuse scandal.

Lee made the comments a day after the release of a review into childcare services in Hong Kong, which was set up in the wake of a series of abuse cases linked to a residential home in Prince Edward.

Speaking on an RTHK radio programme, Lee revealed that the SAR had only about 900 foster families, and admitted that stepping up support for them would be crucial to attract more foster parents.

"There are some children with special needs. These will create challenges for foster families," Lee said.

"One of the recommendations is to provide more interdisciplinary support for families, such as providing assessments, and professional rehabilitation in-home services for the children, including speech therapy, clinical psychological therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy."

She said it was also crucial to attract more people, including social workers, to work in childcare.

The Committee on Review of Residential Child Care and Related Services made 39 recommendations in its report on Thursday, including boosting manpower in different ranks at homes, improving training and requiring superintendents to take courses in child protection.

The committee was established after a series of abuse cases linked to the Children's Residential Home in Prince Edward. Several former staff have been convicted of abusing or neglecting children in their care at the home.

Speaking on the same programme, social welfare sector lawmaker Tik Chi-yuen, who was a member of the committee, said training of staff at residential childcare centres had been neglected.

He said staff should attend courses in order to improve the quality of services provided for children.