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LCQ16: Foster care service

    Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, to a question by the Hon Leung Yiu-chung on foster care service in the Legislative Council today (June 11):


    Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the numbers of families providing foster care service and children receiving such service at present;

(b) whether the Social Welfare Department had, in the past six years, increased the allowance for foster families; if it had, of the rate of each increase; if not, the reasons for that and whether the amount of the allowance will be increased in view of the fact that it has not been increased for six years; and

(c) as some foster families have told me that the current amount of allowance is inadequate to cover the actual expenses on caring for the children concerned, resulting in some foster children being deprived of a normal and healthy life, whether it will re-examine if the amount of the allowance should be increased?


Madam President,

(a) According to Social Welfare Department (SWD) statistics, as at June 4, 2008 there were 959 registered foster families and 927 children receiving foster care service.

(b) Foster families currently receive a foster care allowance of $4,411 per foster child per month. It covers the child¡¦s maintenance and incentive for the foster family.  There is also a one-off setting-up grant of $1,451 for each child newly placed in a foster home for the procurement of necessities.

    SWD reviews the foster care allowance and setting-up grant annually and, if necessary, will adjust them according to the ¡§Government-wide Price Adjustment Factor¡¨.  The levels of the above allowance and grant and their increases in the past six years (including the current year) are as follows:

                                Financial Year
                      2002-07  2007-08  2008-09
                      (Note 3)

Foster Care Allowance  $4,294    $4,350    $4,411
(Note 1), including ¡V          (+1.30%)  (+1.40%)
                                (Note 4)

(a) Maintenance        $2,864    $2,901    $2,942
                                (+1.29%)  (+1.41%)

(b) Incentive payment  $1,430    $1,449    $1,469
for the foster family          (+1.33%)  (+1.38%)

Setting-up Grant      $1,413    $1,431    $1,451
(Note 2)                        (+1.27%)  (+1.40%)

Note 1: Monthly allowance.
Note 2: One-off grant for each child newly placed in a foster home.
Note 3: In the four financial years from 2002-07, the Director of Social Welfare had exercised his discretion not to adjust these allowances to take account of deflation.  The foster care allowance was therefore frozen at the 2002-03 level.
Note 4: Year-on-year comparison.

(c) SWD will continue to monitor the delivery of foster care services.  If necessary and subject to the availability of additional resources, SWD will adjust the level of foster care allowance and setting-up grant.

Ends/Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Issued at HKT 14:48


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