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EDB announces new arrangements of reporting mechanism for absentees in kindergartens
     The Education Bureau (EDB) today (February 23) issued a circular to all kindergartens (KGs) to announce the new arrangements of the reporting mechanism for absentees in KGs.
     An EDB spokesman said, "The Government attaches great importance to the well-being of children and firmly believes that every child should be protected against harm or abuse. Starting from March 15, 2018, KGs must report to the EDB students' absence for seven consecutive school days if such absence is without reasons or under doubtful circumstances."
     The aim of setting up the new reporting mechanism is to raise the alertness of school personnel and support KGs in early identification of students in need of support or suspected child abuse cases so that early intervention and appropriate support and services can be provided in a timely manner. The EDB hopes parents would appreciate that the new arrangements are being introduced for the well-being of children. If their children need to take leave, parents should maintain close communication with schools and keep them clearly informed of their children's situation.
     The spokesman stressed that even if a student is absent for fewer than seven school days, or is even attending school as usual or absent intermittently, should the school personnel notice any wounds or any signs of child abuse, they should immediately refer to the Social Welfare Department (SWD)'s "Procedural Guide for Handling Child Abuse Cases" and make a report to the EDB as appropriate, and in parallel report the situation to the SWD or the Police for assistance.
     Upon receiving a report from a school, EDB officers will contact the school for details of the case and discuss with the school how to handle the case, including approaching the SWD for professional advice or support.
     The spokesman said that the key to early identification and early intervention of child abuse cases is to enhance the awareness of school personnel in identifying child abuse, and raise their ability in crisis assessment and multi-disciplinary collaboration. In this connection, the EDB will continue to collaborate with the SWD and the Police to hold seminars for KGs in March and April to introduce early identification, the reporting mechanism and the support provided by relevant departments.
Ends/Friday, February 23, 2018
Issued at HKT 14:31
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