Budget Speech

Supporting the Disadvantaged and Caring for the Young

177.    The Government will allocate an additional annual provision of some $92 million to strengthen the manpower for residential child care services, and will make use of the Lotteries Fund to improve the environment of small group homes.  The Government will also set up five centres for separated or divorced families, and will strengthen the manpower of Integrated Family Service Centres and Family and Child Protective Services Units of the Social Welfare Department (SWD) to enable early identification and more effective intervention for families at risk of separation or divorce.  The additional recurrent provision involved will be around $56 million.

178.    In recent months, it is sad to see several child abuse cases.  I will allocate some $504 million from the Lotteries Fund to launch a three-year pilot scheme to provide social work services in phases for about 150 000 children and their families in all aided child care centres, kindergartens and kindergarten-cum-child care centres.  Moreover, from the 2018/19 school year, more resources will be provided for public sector primary schools to encourage them to strengthen and enhance their social work and counselling services according to school-based circumstances, with a view to ultimately achieving the target of "one school social worker for each school".  Besides, we will improve the provision of school social workers in special schools.  I will strengthen the manpower of SWD's Family and Child Protective Services Units, and the workforce of NGOs supporting the Educational Programme on Stopping Domestic Violence.  The recurrent expenditure involved will amount to some $43 million.

179.    I will provide subvention to NGOs for setting up cyber youth support teams to reach out to high-risk or hidden youths to provide early intervention and support.  I will also enhance the District Support Scheme for Children and Youth Development by raising the ceiling of cash assistance and increasing the number of quotas for disadvantaged children and youths.  The additional recurrent expenditure involved will be $20.5 million and $11 million respectively.

Strengthening Support for Ethnic Minorities

180.    There were some 250 000 ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, making up 3.8 per cent of our whole population.  Many of them have taken root in Hong Kong and regard Hong Kong as their home.  The Government always strives to encourage and facilitate the integration of ethnic minorities into society.  Yet, they are still facing a lot of difficulties.  To enhance collaboration within the Government on support for the ethnic minorities, the Chief Secretary for Administration will set up a steering committee to co-ordinate, review and monitor work in this area.  I will earmark $500 million to strengthen support for ethnic minorities.



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