Enhanced After School Care Programme renders support to needy families

     To further strengthen child care support for needy families, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) recently launched the Enhanced After School Care Programme, providing extended care service hours on weekday evenings, weekends and school holidays for children aged from 6 to 12 to ensure that they are given proper after-school care when their parents are unable to do so.

     A spokesman for the SWD said today (January 11) that the Government is mindful of families in need of child care services. Parents who are temporarily unable to take care of their children due to work or other reasons may use the After School Care Programme (ASCP) services operated by non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

     "To enhance the support for parents who have to work long/irregular hours or at weekends, or those intending to join the workforce to improve their finances, the SWD has, since last month, allocated additional resources for some ASCP operators to provide about 300 additional full fee-waiving quotas across the territory and extend the service hours of the centres during weekday evenings, Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays up to 9pm," the spokesman said.

     The ASCP normally operates under a self-financing and fee-charging mode, mainly providing supportive services including homework guidance, parental guidance and education, skill learning and other social and developmental activities. At present, there are about 150 ASCP centres operated by NGOs offering about 5 400 service places, with the Enhanced After School Care Programme being run at 34 centres.

     The spokesman added that under the Fee Waiving Subsidy Scheme (FWSS) for ASCP, the SWD has always provided fee-waiving reductions for parents of low-income families who are engaged in open employment or receiving training, thus enabling them to improve their self-reliance. The annual recurrent expenditure of the FWSS is about $32 million, which offers more than 2 000 full fee-waiving quotas.

     ASCP operators can split one full fee-waiving quota into two half fee-reduction quotas according to actual service needs, so as to benefit more children. Needy and eligible families may also apply to ASCP operators directly for the full fee-waiving or the half fee-reduction subsidy.

     For details of the service provision of the ASCP and the list of ASCP centres, please refer to the SWD webpage (www.swd.gov.hk/en/index/site_pubsvc/page_young/sub_ascp/).

Ends/Sunday, January 11, 2015
Issued at HKT 14:02