- Annual Highlights
Highlights of the Year 2019-20
SCHOOL SOCIAL WORK SERVICE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
SWD has, since the 2000/2001 school year, implemented the policy of “one school social worker for each school” in secondary schools by subventing NGOs to provide school social work (SSW) service in secondary schools. Since September 2011, the manpower in respect of SSW service in all secondary schools has been increased by 20%. To enhance teenagers’ mental health and stress resilience, SWD has deployed additional resources to implement the measure of “two school social workers for each school” in secondary schools since the 2019/20 school year.
CYBER YOUTH SUPPORT TEAMS
Cyber Youth Support Teams (CYSTs) provided professional social work intervention for at-risk and hidden youths including online and offline counselling and group/programme services. Established in December 2018, CYSTs continued to form partnerships with other community stakeholders and organisations to foster cross-sectoral collaboration to address the needs of at-risk and hidden youths.
DISTRICT SUPPORT SCHEME FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
With effect from 2005-06, SWD has been implementing the District Support Scheme for Children and Youth Development through district social welfare offices. The Direct Cash Assistance under the Scheme provides one-off financial assistance on individual item expenses which are not covered by other funds, subsidies or mainstream education systems for children and youth aged 24 or below in disadvantaged circumstances to meet their developmental needs. The Scheme was enhanced in 2018-19 with an additional recurrent resources of $11 million to raise the ceiling of cash assistance from $1,500 to $2,000 per person per year and increase the annual quotas of beneficiaries from 6 000 to 10 000. With the enhancement measures, the number of beneficiaries was increased from 8 180 in 2018-19 to 9 252 in 2019-20. In 2020-21, SWD will simplify the financial assessment procedures of the Scheme in order to serve more families in need.
FEE WAIVING SUBSIDY SCHEME UNDER AFTER SCHOOL CARE PROGRAMME
SWD provides annual recurrent funding for the provision of fee-waiving places under the After School Care Programme (ASCP) and Enhanced ASCP to parents with service needs. These parents are unable to take care of their children after school as they are engaged in open employment or employment-related retraining/attachment programmes but cannot afford the fees of ASCP service. In response to the keen demand for ASCP service, a host of enhancement measures will be implemented, including an addition of 2 500 full fee-waiving places, relaxation of application eligibility, streamlining of means-test procedures, increase of subsidy level and provision of extra subsidy for children with special educational needs, etc. The Pilot Scheme on ASCP under Community Care Fund will also be regularised. The enhancement measures are to be implemented in October 2020.
CHILD DEVELOPMENT FUND
The Government established the $300 million Child Development Fund (CDF) in 2008 so as to draw on the resources from families, the private sector, the community and the Government to promote the longer-term development of children from disadvantaged background aged between 10 and 16 or those studying primary four to secondary four. SWD has been entrusted with the operational responsibility of the CDF.
To ensure the sustainability of the CDF, additional allocation of $300 million each was injected in 2015-16 and 2018-19 respectively to enhance and roll out more projects in order to help more students from needy families. The total allocation of $900 million is expected to benefit about 30 000 children from underprivileged background. As at March 2020, 7 batches of 142 projects operated by NGOs and 6 batches of 65 school-based projects operated by schools were rolled out, benefiting more than 18 900 children.