After spate of suspected child abuse cases at home, Hong Kong puts social workers in kindergartens

In a very worrying article recently published in the SCMP, social worker Pauline Chan Mei-ying reported that “In her first two years as a social worker in kindergartens, Chan had to handle a case of a father beating his wife and child, and another of a pupil’s mother committing suicide, both at the same school.”

While subsidised primary and secondary schools have for years been receiving funding from the government to hire social workers, kindergartens wanting social work services have had to tap into their own funds.

But after a spate of suspected abuse cases last year, including the tragic death of Chan Sui-lam, a five-year-old girl who was repeatedly thrown at the ceiling and poked in the chest with scissors, the government announced a pilot scheme to provide social work services in more than 700 subsidised childcare centres and kindergartens.

Any efforts by the Hong Kong government aimed at improving the safety and welfare of children should be applauded.

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