Founded in 1936, the Association has over 50,000 members and 1,000 professional staff, including 400 trained social workers. It provides a wide range of recreational, information, advisory, social work outreach and community support services to Hong Kong children, young people and their families. These include a Youth Employment Service that provides job skills training, information and counseling, and work placements for school leavers and school drop-outs aged 14 to 18.
The Association strongly believes in a child-centered approach and thus helps develop foster care services for abandoned children. The Oasis for Foster Families has since 2008, expanded its service from two to five districts in Guangzhou, benefitting 20 foster families, 152 children and 44 parents. Services provided include case counseling, developmental support, various activities and outings, all of which aim to build resilience and foster respect and cooperation in children. To enhance the support and care network of the children in their care, the Project’s social workers have made used of community resources and also collaborated with professionals including teachers from welfare institutes and schools, and parents from small group home.
It is believed that the association must proactively reach out to delinquent youths and involve different sectors to help them build personal assets so that they can confidently face future challenges. Our Guangzhou Centre collaborated with the city of Pun U to set up the Youth Zone providing youths aged 13-30 and their parents with professional social work services. Youth Zone’s social workers are able to familiarize themselves with youths who join activities and provide immediate consultation or case services upon identifying their needs, enhance their social circle and help them establish appropriate values.
The Association’s work on the mainland includes assisting the government and related departments in developing the social work profession, assessing the overall situation with identifying community needs and policy development.
In 2010-2011, the Guangzhou Centre organized numerous social work training and exchange activities and supervised practicum for mainland social workers and social work students in order to share Hong Kong’s experience on service management and supervision. Over 100 hours of seminars, forums, exchange tours, volunteer trainings as well as drama therapy technique sessions were organized. The Guangzhou Centre also responded to the Guangzhou Civil Affairs Bureau’s invitation to share with the knowledge and experience on managing crisis situations and negotiation and crowd control.
The Association’s budget comes mainly from Hong Kong government subvention (70%). It also depends on membership fees and service charges, grants from the Hong Kong Community Chest, Lotteries Fund and Hong Kong Jockey Club, personal and corporate donations.