'More Manpower Needed At Residential Childcare Homes'

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2022-10-02 HKT 15:26

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  • 'More manpower needed at residential childcare homes'

Labour minister Chris Sun on Sunday said more manpower is needed at residential childcare centres after a series of child-abuse allegations came to light.

He also said the government will follow up on suspected abuse cases at a Po Leung Kuk foster home in Causeway Bay. Two staff members there were arrested in the past week on suspicion of mistreating children.

Speaking on a television programme, he said the Social Welfare Department had requested the care home to submit a detailed report.

Sun also said many of those living at residential childcare centres have special needs, highlighting the need for greater resources.

"We can see the demand for resources and manpower. The reason why we need manpower is that 30 to 40 percent of children at residential childcare facilities have special needs. That means we have to deploy more manpower and hire more staff," he said.

He added that authorities will consider hiring childcare assistants to take care of the basic needs of toddlers, such as feeding and bathing, to help ease the workload of care home staff so they can perform other more specialised tasks.

On allegations of abuse at a special-needs school in Tai Po, Sun said the Education Bureau is following up on the case.

He said Hong Chi Pinehill No.2 School is among those subject to recommendations in a report released earlier on residential child care facilities.

Authorities have received complaints such as tying up children's hands and causing bruises.

Third Side legislator Tik Chi-yuen, who represents the social welfare sector, urged the government to beef up measures to tackle child abuse.

Tik said more needs to be done to find out the crux of the problem. "It is good for the government to form a committee to investigate the situation, to gain the confidence of the public and to control the situation. We don't want any further cases to happen again," he said.

"If there's a problem of manpower inadequacy, the government should consider how to improve it."

Meanwhile, Sun said authorities are wrapping up a probe into an accident at a MIRROR concert in July, in which a giant video screen fell and struck two dancers at the Hong Kong Coliseum.

In particular, he told reporters that officials have sought legal advice from the Department of Justice on whether the dancers were self-employed, and the implications this might have.

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Last updated: 2022-10-02 HKT 18:57