Joint-Press Conference on Child Safeguarding Policy by Five Districts Business Welfare Association & Plan International Hong Kong First Two Kindergartens in Hong Kong Signed 20 Child Safeguarding Standards to Protect Children from Abuses

Many child abuse cases were exposed in the past year, including a suspected incident of mass child abuse in a residential home of a child-protection organisation, in which over 30 employees were arrested for allegedly abusing or physically punishing a number of children. The situation is alarming and reveals the lack of relevant policy to prevent child abuse in child-related organisations.The offense of “failure to protect” has not yet been proceeded, to strengthen the protection of children and their well-being, Five Districts Business Welfare Association Cheung Chuk Shan Nursery School/Kindergarten and Five Districts Business Welfare Association Nursery School/Kindergartenstepped up to become the pioneers in child safeguarding. With Plan International Hong Kong’s (“Plan”) assistance in outlining their Child Safeguarding Policy (“the Policy”), they are committed to protecting children from any forms of abuse, harm, and exploitation.The Association has become the first school operator to implement a Child Safeguarding Policy in Hong Kong.

Five Districts Business Welfare Association (“the Association”) and Plan International Hong Kong Co-organised the “Press Conference on Child Safeguarding Policy in Kindergarten & Nursery” today, demonstrating the implementation of the Policy under Plan’s framework and providing guidelines for other organisations to design and execute their Child Safeguarding Policies.

All guests and Child Safeguarding Advisors of the upcoming Code of Practice of Kindergarten Child Safeguarding Policy were invited to attend the ceremony and they gather to support the movement to transform Hong Kong into a Child Safeguarding City. Including Dr. Kanie Siu(5th from the right, first row), Dr. IP Patrick(5th from the left, first row) ,Ms., BBS, LUI TSANG Sun-kai Priscilla (4th from the right, first row), Ms. CHOW Rosa (2nd from the right, first row)& Ms., MH, CHEA Shuk Mui Candy (3rd from the right, first row)

We are all responsible to safeguard children. Five Districts Business Welfare Association Cheung Chuk Shan Nursery School/Kindergarten and Plan International Hong Kong signed the Policy under the witness of all guests and media today as a promise to follow through with the 20 standards in four dimensions, namely “Policy”, “Procedure”, “People &Culture” and “Accountability”, in Plan’s Child Safeguarding Policy framework.

The signing ceremony is co-hosted by Mr. YAN Man-Fai, Chairperson & School Board of Early Childhood Service of Five Districts Business Welfare Association, and Dr.Kanie Siu, CEO of Plan International Hong Kong. It marks an important milestone of the child safeguarding movement.

Mr. YAN Man-Fai, Chairperson & School Board of Early Childhood Service of Five Districts Business Welfare Association and Ms. CHOW Rosa, Manager of Early Childhood Service Development of Five Districts Business Welfare Association & School Board of Early Childhood Service, stated that the Association will act in accordance with the 20 standards listed in Plan’s Policy framework, including the provision of a clear code of conduct describing acceptable and unacceptable behaviours around children, ensuring the policy is applied to all staff, volunteers and relevant partners, as well as the establishment of whistleblowing policy where employees should be able to report abuse or suspicions of abuse without the fear of retribution and discrimination in the workplace. The Association hopes the Policy can provide insights and guidelines to child-related industries and secure the rights to protection of every child.

Mr. CHOW Yuet-Yan Kenneth, Supervisor of Five Districts Business Welfare Association & School Board Chairperson of Education Department, gives a welcome speech to announce the implementation of Child Safeguarding Policy of two Nursey School/Kindergarten of the Association under Plan International’s framework.

“The mission of Child Safeguarding Policy is to minimise the risk of harm.” Dr. Kanie Siu, Chief Executive Officer of Plan International Hong Kong, said. “As an organisation to serve children, we are obligated to take every possible measure morally and legally to create a safe environment for them, to keep children away from any potential harms or abuses caused by the organisation, and to take appropriate actions in response to threats against children’s safety within the organisation. However, there are no official child safeguarding guidelines in Hong Kong, therefore Plan conducted comprehensive research on relevant laws and regulations in other countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia and created the 20 child safeguarding standards in four dimensions as an indicator for local educators to follow and establish their Child Safeguarding Policies.

Dr.Kanie Siu shares about Plan International’s child safeguarding work and research results in the years and introduces the organisation’s newly-developed Code of Practice of Kindergarten Child Safeguarding Policy.

Dr. Kanie Siu expressed her gratitude towards the Association to have its two kindergartens and nurseries be the very first institutions to sign the Policy and she hopes the Association’s passion for safeguarding children will become a motivation for other institutions to understand the importance of child safeguarding and take up the role in building a safety net for children. In the meantime, Plan is producing the content for the Code of Practice of Kindergarten Child Safeguarding Policy (“the Code of Practice”) with the collaborative efforts of several professionals in the field as policy advisors. The Code of Practice will be available soon and Plan aims to provide the industry with concrete and practical references so that kindergartens and nursery workers can put the idea of child safeguarding into daily operations.

Besides, Dr. IP Patrick, Clinical Associate Professor of the Department of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine of the University of Hong Kong and Commission on Children Committee Member, shared his thoughts at the conference about the impacts of child abuse on early childhood development and the key role of kindergartens in a safe upbringing environment. Ms., BBS, LUI TSANG Sun-kai Priscilla, Commission on Children Member, talked about the benefits of setting up a Child Safeguarding Policy in an educational institution to create a child-friendly culture. Ms., MH, CHEA Shuk Mui Candy, Senior Media Practitioner & Child Safeguarding Ambassador, had a conversation with parents on stage to provide the audience with deeper insights into home-school cooperation regarding child safeguarding.Dr. TIK Chi-yuen, Social Welfare Legislative Council Member, attended the conference online. He expressed his concern about the recent increase in child abuse cases. He stressed that it is of paramount importance to strengthen the legislation to better protect children and increase the public’s vigilance in safeguarding children.

Dr. IP Patrick, Clinical Associate Professor of the Department of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the University of Hong Kong & Commission on Children Committee Member, explains the positive impacts of Child Safeguarding Policy on early childhood development.

Ms., BBS, LUI TSANG Sun-kai Priscilla, Commission on Children Member, uses her past experiences as examples to help educational institutions establish their Child Safeguarding Policy.

Ms., MH, CHEA Shuk Mui Candy, Senior Media Practitioner & Child Safeguarding Ambassador, has an on-stage discussion with a parent representative to exchange thoughts on child safety issues.