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SLW appreciates unceasing support by child care centres during class suspension (with photos)

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, visited the St James' Settlement Child Care Centre (Kennedy Road) in Wan Chai this afternoon (October 8) to see the child care and support services provided by the Centre. Mr Cheung also expressed special thanks to all child care centres in the Wan Chai and Central and Western districts for remaining open to provide necessary support to families in need during the recent class suspension of all kindergartens in the two districts.

     Accompanied by the Chief Executive Officer of St James' Settlement (SJS), Mrs Cynthia Luk, and the Headmistress of the Centre, Ms Cheng Ka-yee, Mr Cheung toured the facilities provided. He was briefed by Ms Cheng on the Centre's adoption of diversified teaching activities for children to learn through games, and how the children are taught to observe daily rules as well as to respect and care for others.

     Mr Cheung was pleased to learn that the centre provides a number of support services under subvention by the Social Welfare Department, including an extended hours service and a respite child care service, as well as an integrated programme for mildly disabled pre-schoolers. To assist the children and their families to solve any problems they may have, the Centre also provides a counselling service supported by SJS.

     Mr Cheung said, "The Government provides a variety of child care services. There are 28 500 child care centre places for children aged below 3, of which 7 000 places are subsidised.

     "To enhance support for working parents and to enable more women to stay in or re-enter the workforce, we are taking a multi-pronged approach to strengthen the care services to pre-schoolers as well as after-school child care services to primary students.

     "In this financial year, the Government will devote additional resources to enhance the Neighbourhood Support Child Care Project (NSCCP) and the After School Care Programme (ASCP) for children aged between 6 and 12. For the NSCCP, apart from providing additional home-based child care places, the age limit of service beneficiaries will also be lifted from under 6 to under 9. As for the ASCP, the service hours of some after-school care centres will also be extended on weekday evenings, weekends and school holidays, and the fee-waiving and fee reduction quotas will also be increased.

     "Subject to funding approval by the Finance Committee of Legislative Council later, the Government also plans to inject $400 million to the Partnership Fund for the Disadvantaged, of which $200 million will be dedicated to a matching fund to encourage tripartite partnerships among the community, business and public sectors to provide more after-school learning and support programmes for primary and secondary school students from grassroots families," he said.

Ends/Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:15


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