LCQ19: District Support Scheme for Children and Youth Development
Since 2005, the Social Welfare Department has been provided with an annual recurrent provision for implementing the District Support Scheme for Children and Youth Development (the Scheme) through various District Social Welfare Offices to address the developmental needs of disadvantaged children and youths aged 24 or below in the districts. Some of the funding of the Scheme is used to implement district projects and cover related programme expenses, whilst the remaining is distributed to individual deprived children and youths in the form of direct cash assistance according to their developmental needs. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the estimates of expenditure on district projects to be implemented by non-governmental organisations under the Scheme for the 2017-2018 financial year, as well as the names of the relevant organisations and the respective amounts of funding approved, broken down by district; and
(2) whether it has plans to gradually cease implementing the Scheme; if so, of the timetable and the reasons for that?
My consolidated reply to the question raised by the Hon Leung Yiu-chung is as follows:
The Social Welfare Department (SWD) has since 2005-06 implemented the District Support Scheme for Children and Youth Development (the Scheme) through the District Social Welfare Offices to address the developmental needs of disadvantaged children and youth aged 24 or below in the districts. In view of the redeployment of resources, SWD has since 2016-17 ceased to provide funding to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to implement district projects under the Scheme. The Scheme currently focuses on providing cash assistance to individual deprived children and youth to meet their developmental needs.
Meanwhile, SWD has since 2015 provided $200 million matching funds (the dedicated potion) through the Partnership Fund for the Disadvantaged to encourage the business sector to work with NGOs and schools to implement more after-school learning and support programmes to facilitate the whole-person development of primary and secondary school students mainly from grassroots families. These programmes are similar in nature to the district projects under the Scheme as referred to above. SWD launched the first two rounds of application for the dedicated portion in January and December 2015 respectively. Altogether 149 projects have been approved so far, involving matching grants totalling $117 million and benefiting over 60 000 primary and secondary school students. With the business donations and matching grants, the total funding for these projects amounts to more than $230 million. The third round of application for the dedicated portion closed at the end of March 2017, and SWD is examining around 50 applications received.
SWD will continue to examine the effectiveness of the Scheme as well as the co-ordination between the Scheme and the other initiatives of the Government, so as to ensure the optimal use of resources for the provision of suitable support to disadvantaged children and youth.
Ends/Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:45
Issued at HKT 11:45