Child Protection NGO's Consultation in USJ





A consultation meeting about child protection with NGOs, organised by the Cradle of Hope Association and co-organised by the University of Saint Joseph, the Good Shepherd Center, and the International Women’s Association, was held at USJ on February 28.

Child protection is never a one-person job but requires the collaboration of the whole community. The Cradle of Hope Association organised a consultation meeting about child protection with local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on February 28th at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ). The event was co-organised by the University of Saint Joseph, the Good Shepherd Center, and the International Ladies Club of Macau.

Prof. Jacky Ho, the director of Macao Observatory for Social Development and Head of Department of Social Work of USJ, Prof. Helen Liu, Research Coordinator for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Education (FSSE) of USJ, Mr. Ben Cheang from the Department of Innovative Social Work of the City University of Macau, Psychotherapist Ms. Donatella Maschio and numerous of other frontline child protection organisations attended the meeting, including Evangelize china fellowship, inc. Fellowship orphanage, La De Jovens de Mong-Ha, S.K.H. Northern District Youth Service Team, S.K.H. Astor Shore, Associacao de Reabilitacao de Toxicodependentes de Macau, the Christian New Life Fellowship (in Macau), and the UGAMM Youth Service Team.

Before the meeting started, Ms. Marjory, President of Cradle of Hope Association, presented a souvenir to Prof. Jacky Ho, who received on behalf of USJ.

Prof. Jacky Ho gave a welcoming speech, thanking all the organisations for their efforts in the field, and expressed that the Department of Social Work of USJ is willing to support frontline workers in practice and academically. He then introduced Prof. Helen Liu, who has been working on Family Research for a long time and believed that with her rich knowledge and experience, she would be able to assist the industry.

During the meeting, Ms. Donatella Maschio shared the results of a survey she had completed in children’s homes of workers’ attitudes towards child protection. The results showed that there was a general awareness among the workers. However, the survey found that most workers got the relevant knowledge from outside the organisation, demonstrating the importance of organising relevant training courses for workers within the organisation.

Mr. Ben Cheang shared the current policies, practices, and experiences of child protection services in Hong Kong. There are four principles and 16 objectives that need to be followed in providing services in Hong Kong’s residential institutions for children and youth. In recent years, the organisations have also reviewed their service processes venues to see if the service provided can be improved to achieve the goal of child protection.

At the end of the meeting, Prof. Helen led the panel discussion. Representatives from NGOs shared the problems they had encountered, how the organisations responded according to the laws and regulations, and the internal procedures or guidelines of the organisations. Participants mentioned the difficulties in collaborating with the government departments, the situation that children are returning to the institutions due to repeated abuse, the needs of SEN (special educational needs) children and those who are taking psychotropic drugs, etc. As for the discussion on the internal training courses and working guidelines, some institutions had clear working guidelines. Most of them agreed that annual training courses are essential for new workers. It could also be a refresher for those working for years to enhance the overall awareness and sensitivity to child protection.

The organisers and co-organisers hope to collect the opinions and feedback from the frontline through this meeting and invite relevant units or stakeholders in child protection work, such as social welfare, police, medical and education systems, etc., to join the roundtable meeting in April for further detailed discussion.

Author: Angelo, HOI KA LONG (Ph.D. student of Psychology)
Editor: Communication and Public Relations Office