The following is a speech by Secretary for Health and Welfare, Dr E K Yeoh, at the Opening Ceremony of Tsuen King Children & Youth Centre of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups today (November 11):
Rosanna, Members of the Federation, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here today at this opening ceremony of the Tsuen King Children and Youth Centre.
The HK Federation of Youth Groups has over the past 40 years worked unfailingly and wholeheartedly for the well-being of our younger generation. It has evolved from setting up youth centres in public housing estates in the early years to providing today, a comprehensive range of youth services, including Children and Youth Centres, School Social Work Service, Outreach Social Work Service, Integrated Teams, and a Youth Hotline. Today, the Federation operates 66 individual service units employing over 500 staff and receiving annual subvention of $133 million.
But statistics do not alone tell the story - impressive as they are. Social services are human services. What matters most is the quality of service provided to the people who really matter - the clients. In this regard, the readiness of the Federation to adopt innovative modes of service in response to changing community needs is particularly commendable. For example, it established the first Integrated Team in Tsuen Wan in Clague Garden in 1995. Other innovative services devised by the Federation have included the "Detached Work" project, the forerunner of the present Outreach Social Work Service, and the newly launched Centre for Leadership Development.
In Hong Kong, the youth population aged 24 and below stands at 2 million, accounting for almost 30% of our total population. These are the future of our society. They face many new opportunities as well as many challenges as a result of the constant and rapid changes in society. That is why we must do all we can to help them cope with modern life and to become mature, responsible and contributing members of our society. Children and Youth Centres are an important component of our services for young people and this Centre, is a fine example of what is needed to attract and assist the younger members of our community.
Addressing young people's needs requires the co-operation and hard work of a number of different parties, including the service providers, the Government, and the community. The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups has always been one of the pioneers in youth services, working closely with the Government. I am sure that, with its experience and dedication, the Federation will continue to make a valuable contribution to ensuring the well-being and development of young people in Hong Kong. Thank you.
END/Saturday, November 11, 2000