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LCQ19: Child care services
     Following is a question by the Hon Holden Chow and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Chris Sun, in the Legislative Council today (November 30):


     Currently the Government, through subsidising non-governmental organisations, provides child care and child-minding services, including child care centres, after-school care centres, and the Neighbourhood Support Child Care Project (NSCCP) (i.e. providing home-based care services undertaken by home-based child carers and centre-based care services to needy parents who, due to a lack of support network and financial hardship, are unable to arrange care for their children aged under nine). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the following in Hong Kong in each of the past five years:
(i) the respective numbers of child care centres and after-school care centres, as well as the numbers of their service places and applicants, and
(ii) the numbers of service places and applicants under NSCCP,
with a tabulated breakdown by District Council (DC) district;

(2) of the number of home-based child carers under NSCCP, with a tabulated breakdown by DC district;

(3) as the current incentive payment for home-based child carers is $25 per hour, whether the Government has plans to substantially increase the amount of the incentive payment to provide incentives for encouraging more people to take part and become home-based child carers, thereby strengthening the provision of child care services; and

(4) whether it has compiled statistics on the number of parents, in each of the past five years, who were originally forced to give up their jobs due to the need to take care of their children and re-entered the employment market after receiving the child care services or participating in NSCCP mentioned in (1), as well as the average incomes of such parents before and after they re-entered the employment market; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     To assist parents who cannot take care of their young children because of work or other reasons, the Government subsidises non-government organisations to provide a variety of day child care services, including Child Care Centre (CCC) services, the Neighbourhood Support Child Care Project (NSCCP), the After School Care Programme (ASCP).

     CCCs provide day care services to children aged from birth to under three. The NSCCP provides flexible form of day child care service for children aged under nine, covering home-based child care services (HCCSs) and centre-based care groups, in which HCCSs provide child care services at the home-based child carers' (HCCs) own residence or a suitable place as approved by the service operator.

     The services of the ASCP target at primary school students and include homework guidance, parental guidance and education, skill learning, social activities. The services of the Enhanced ASCP provide extended service hours on weekday evenings, Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays.

     The Social Welfare Department (SWD) is re-engineering the 19 Mutual Help Child Care Centres from 2021-22 onwards to provide after school care service for pre-primary children in phases, with additional provision for social workers and supporting staff, so as to further meet the child care needs in the community. At present, 10 centres have completed re-engineering.

     My reply to the Member's question is as follows:

(1) and (4) In the past five financial years, the number of service units and the number of service places of CCCs, the ASCP and the NSCCP by the 18 districts are set out at Annex 1.

     The SWD does not have information on the number of applicants, the number of parents who re-entered the employment market and the amount of the average income.

(2) The number of HCCs under the NSCCP by the 18 districts is set out at Annex 2.

(3) The HCCs provide services as volunteers in the spirit of mutual help in the neighbourhood and receive incentive payment in recognition of their contribution. Since January 2020, the SWD has made a standard increase in the level of incentive payment for all HCCs to $25 per hour with a view to encouraging more volunteers to be HCCs. To better meet the keen demand for day child care services, the Government announced in the 2022-23 Budget to review the implementation mode and effectiveness of the NSCCP, including the level of the pay of the HCCs. The review will be completed by mid-2023.
Ends/Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Issued at HKT 12:25
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