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LCQ6: Support services for doubly non-permanent resident children

     Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Leung and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (March 21):


     It has been reported earlier that as children born locally but whose parents are non-permanent residents of Hong Kong (doubly non-permanent resident children) do not have household registration and benefits on the Mainland, their parents request the Government to provide residence and schooling for these children in Hong Kong. It has also been reported that of the pupils who were admitted to some local primary schools in recent years, some were doubly non-permanent resident children who had only attended kindergarten for no more than a few months, and these children, who could hardly take care of themselves and lacked basic skills such as recognising numbers, etc, had created much difficulty for the teachers who teach them. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of cases of doubly non-permanent resident children receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance in each of the past three years;

(b) of the number of requests for provision of foster care to doubly non-permanent resident children in each of the past three years; and

(c) whether the authorities will provide additional resources to help doubly non-permanent resident children cope with the problems they face upon admission to primary one in schools in Hong Kong as well as integrate into society, and how the authorities will assist schools in addressing the learning and adaptation problems of such children?



     My reply to the Hon Andrew Leung's questions is as follows:

(a) According to information provided by the applicants under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme, some recipients born in Hong Kong and aged below 18 at the time of application have parents from the Mainland who are both non-Hong Kong residents (commonly known as "doubly non-permanent resident children"). The numbers of such cases in the past three years were as follows:

     Year              Number of cases
(Number as at
the end of December)
--------------------   ---------------
     2009                    255
     2010                    286
     2011                    327

(b) Among the foster care service cases arranged by the Social Welfare Department (SWD), there were three and four cases involving "doubly non-permanent resident children" in 2010 and 2011 respectively. SWD did not collect such information for 2009 or before.

(c) Regardless of the parents' permanent residence status, students eligible for receiving education in Hong Kong will enjoy the same educational support services as local students.

     Same as other newly arrived children, "doubly non-permanent resident children" eligible for receiving education in Hong Kong are entitled to enjoy the support services offered by the Education Bureau (EDB). They may choose to attend the six-month full-time Initiation Programme prior to joining the mainstream schools. The Programme aims at enhancing students' proficiency in English and Chinese, strengthening their learning experience in a real classroom environment and helping them adapt to living in Hong Kong. If the students concerned choose to enrol in mainstream schools direct upon arrival in Hong Kong, they may attend Induction Programmes in parallel. The Induction Programmes are 60-hour programmes run by non-governmental organisations which aim to help these students cope with adjustment problems and learning difficulties which they may encounter when joining local schools. In addition, EDB provides public sector schools admitting newly arrived children with the School-based Support Scheme Grant to run school-based support programmes such as supplementary lessons, orientation programmes, guidance programmes and extra-curricular activities etc. All these programmes can help newly arrived children integrate into and adapt to the local education system.

     Newly arrived children including "doubly non-permanent resident children" may encounter language and cultural adaptation difficulties such as delay in language development or speaking with their native accent, etc. EDB has been providing primary schools with additional resources to help them render preventive and remedial speech therapy services to students according to their needs. These services include parent workshop, individual, group or in-class support as well as professional training for teachers, etc. If newly arrived primary one pupils are suspected to have learning difficulties, schools may identify those in need of intensive support through the prevailing "Early Identification and Intervention of Learning Difficulties Programme" for primary one pupils. Schools may deploy the additional resources provided by EDB for supporting students with special educational needs to render early remedial service for these students. Assessment will be arranged for those who display persistent learning difficulties such that further recommendation and remedial services can be provided. Professional officers of EDB, including educational psychologists, audiologists, speech therapists and inspectors etc, will provide further support for schools as required.

Ends/Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Issued at HKT 15:03


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