Following is the speech by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Dr E K Yeoh, at the 50th Annual General Meeting
of the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society today (Wednesday):
Miss Tam, Mrs Lai, Mr Mulvey, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my very great pleasure to be here this evening to join you at the 50th Annual General Meeting of the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society (HKFWS).
First of all, I should like to warmly congratulate the Society on its 50th Anniversary. Over the years, your Society has grown from focusing on just helping families in trouble to one providing a vast range of welfare services to many members of our community. Today, the Society operates family life education services, home help teams, school social work units, a clinical psychological service, social centres for the elderly, divorce mediation service and various services for new arrivals. This is most impressive and is testament to your ability to continuously evolve and meet new demands in the community.
The mission of the Society is "to deliver quality and professional social services to enhance the well-being of families and individuals in Hong Kong and to foster a caring community". We, in the Government, fully support these worthy ideals.
I am sure that given the name of your Society, you will readily agree that the integrity of the family is key to the well-being of our community. This is a central tenet of the Government's policy and as such, considerable resources are devoted to strengthening the functioning of families and helping those with problems. The readiness of your Society to adopt innovative modes of service in response to changing community needs is particularly commendable. Examples of the Society's efforts to provide new services which more effectively target the needs of today's families include, emergency foster care, divorce mediation and the recent setting-up of a family retreat centre.
I should like to take the opportunity to thank the Society for its valuable contribution to our on-going work to review adoption practices and legislation in Hong Kong. This exercise should go a long-way to ensuring that the best interests of the child are firmly enshrined in our adoption process.
As you may heard last week, we intend to work with the Sector to improve the existing subvention system. I am sure that we can all agree about the need to ensure public accountability and cost-effectiveness in the delivery of welfare services. We are therefore proposing a shift away from the traditional input-control to a more output oriented system, which we believe, will ultimately benefit those whom we seek to help. I would urge you to participate in the discussion process.
The Government is heavily, reliant on the work of the non-governmental sector to operate welfare services in Hong Kong. Over the past 50 years, the Government and the welfare sector have enjoyed a very close working relationship. We must together nurture and develop this partnership because only through a sense of shared mission and synergy can we together, continue to provide efficient and effective services to those members of our community in need.
As we approach the new Millennium, I am sure the Family Welfare Society will continue to provide quality services for the benefit of the community. I am certain that we all share the same goal and vision of providing the highest quality and most cost-effective welfare services to our community.
End/Wednesday, November 3, 1999