Family in Crisis Pilot Support Project
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Initiated and funded by Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation, the Family in Crisis Pilot Support Project is jointly run by St. James' Settlement and Hong Kong Family Welfare Society. The project's press conference was held on 20 June 2018, with Peter Cheng, Chairman of Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation, Josephine Lee, Chief Executive Officer of St. James' Settlement, and Amarantha Yip, Executive Director of Hong Kong Family Welfare Society, as guests of honour.


Launched in 2017, the project offers timely financial assistance and counseling service to deprived families with young children who are affected by the sudden cut in the main source of household income after a crisis. With overall assessment by social workers, the comprehensive project helps unfortunate families overcome adversity and rebuild their lives.


"I learned about industrial and traffic accidents in the news and deeply concerned about the families who lost their loved ones and household income source. Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation supports St. James' Settlement and Hong Kong Family Welfare Society for the Family in Crisis Pilot Support Project which provides timely, professional counseling and financial assistance to maintain the living quality of the families in crisis. We hope to help them through the difficult times and minimise the negative impact on their children," said Peter Cheng, Chairman of Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation.


To evaluate the effectiveness of the project, St. James' Settlement and Hong Kong Family Welfare Society commissioned the Hong Kong Council of Social Service and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University respectively to conduct a social impact assessment and a practice research on the families supported by the project. As at 31 May 2018, the project has already provided services to 139 families. Among those receiving financial assistance, 15% got both emergency grant for funeral and ordinary grant for daily living expenses. 86% of the respondents are aged between 31 and 60, with children attending school. Without financial aid, the respondents may need to borrow money and reduce their children's education expenses.


The project offers a one-stop service for financial aid and counseling service to relieve the stress from multiple referral procedures. Dialogue, home visitation, care and concern, timely counseling and fostering self-initiative are effective intervention means. According to the evaluation results of the closed cases, 85% of the respondents showed an increase in the ability and confidence to go through life difficulties. More than 90% of the families said they have regained hope for the future and will be able to handle life changes thereafter.


In the qualitative survey, respondents kept wondering why the unfortunate events happened to them and found it hard to let go. Comforting words of relatives and friends came out wrong. Social workers help them build peer support groups with those who share the same experience.


There are parent-child bereavement group, play therapy and art therapy to help the families in crisis through the grieving process. Following the sudden death of her daughter in late 2017, Ms. Tung received emergency fund for the funeral and grief counseling. At the same time, she has to take care of her grandson. Project social worker arranged play therapy for her grandson and collaborated with the caseworker in the family service centre and kindergarten social worker. Ms. Tung is now back on her feet and volunteers in family programmes with her grandson.


Ms. Yuan recalled the moment when handling her husband's funeral, "My mind went blank and I had no idea what to do next." With the social worker's assistance, Ms. Yuan met a roup of people who had similar experience and gained support from them. Ms. Yuan has started a new chapter in her life, "As it turned out, I can find a full-time job and have the ability to take care of myself and my son."


St. James' Settlement and Hong Kong Family Welfare Society call for public support and care for the families in crisis. Most importantly, ask for help if your family is in crisis. This project is open to referrals from non-governmental organisations. Deprived families with young children facing sudden crisis with the breadwinners losing their ability to work can contact Hong Kong Family Welfare Society (for Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Tseung Kwan O, Sai Kung) at 2772 2322, or St. James' Settlement (for New Territories East and New Territories West) at 3921 3906.