Evolving in 75 years

Established in 1949, the HKFWS mainly provided services to those who are deprived of home in the aftermath of World War II and assisted families to get their life back on track. Ranging from launching counselling and school social work services in the 1970s to providing preventive and remedial services for separated families in recent years, we have been evolving our services to meet the changing needs of the community.

Our past, present and future

The Hong Kong Family Welfare Society was known originally as the Social Service Centre of the Churches, established in 1938. The Society became an independent non-governmental organisation on 1st January 1949 with the initiation of the Rt. Rev. R. O. Hall and the expert assistance of Miss Katherine Scott-Moncrieff, a well-known social worker from the United Kingdom.

Backed by the interest and concerns of a group of people from different Christian denominations, the Society was founded with the basic aim of helping families in distress through casework. In the early days, just after World War II, the Society helped with relief work for all people in need, including those who had been released from concentration camps set up during the occupation.

The Society has played a leading role in service innovation. Apart from remedial work, we also focus on the prevention of family problems. In the 1970s, we pioneered Family Life Education, set up our Clinical Psychological Service and Home Help Service, and piloted our School Social Work Service and Foster Care Service. Since 1986, we have initiated a variety of evidence-based experimental services including the Mental Health Group, “drop-ins” for isolated families, multiple support services for Single Parents, Therapeutic Groups for Abusive Families, Emergency Foster Care, and many more. We also produced a number of professional practice publications and conducted many research projects.

In the 1990s, Hong Kong experienced rapid changes in the social and economic environment, population and family structure. The Society developed different services in response to its changing demands, including a Family Mediation Service for divorced families, Service for New Arrivals, and a Family Retreat Centre to support families under stress.

The year 2005 marked another milestone of the Society’s service development. We restructured our internal resources to set up Integrated Family Service Centres (IFSCs) to provide accessible one-stop services to support families. We also introduced the Family Oasis – Family Health Redevelopment Project, Family Careline, Family Volunteer Service, Alternative to Violence Project, Peace Project, Wellness Programme, Employee Assistance Programme, and others, to serve the needs of families. At present, the Society has 6 IFSCs over the territory and continues to develop a variety of services to prevent and resolve family problems, including Kindergarten Social Work Service, Neighbourhood Support Child Care Project, “He-Men, Hear Men” Project, Education and Support Project for Multi-generation Families, Service for Ethnic Minorities, Family in Crisis Pilot Support Project, and others.

The Society has been addressing to the needs of divorced families and has. provided a range of services to support them and their families with educational, preventive and remedial service. These include the Family Resource Centre, the Family Mediation Service and "A Beam of Hope-Pilot Project on ‘Child-focused’ Parenting Coordination and Co-parenting Services for Divorced Families”. In 2016, the Society was commissioned by the Social Welfare Department to launch the Pilot Project on Children Contact Service to support divorced couples and their children in initiating and maintaining communication.

The Society places strong emphasis on promoting the wellness development of youth and their families. Apart from its School Social Work Service, the Society also set up an Integrated Children and Youth Service Centre in 1999 with the aim of developing the potential of young people through art activities. We also launched the “Life-goal planning” service to facilitate young people's self-understanding, potential development and to help plan for their future and career development.

In response to the psychological and mental health issues among youth, the Society has tailor-made  preventive and educational activities to cultivate their positive outlook of life, enhance resilience, and provide early intervention to those in need. The Society has also piloted Net Education services to promote the healthy Internet use and awareness of addiction and cyber-bullying issues, and provide intervention to those affected.

As well, the Society is dedicated in developing competence among youth for preventing and resolving conflicts. We introduced Peer Mediation in primary and secondary schools to foster a harmonious school environment. Under the integrated education system, the Society has also developed different services for students with Special Education Needs (SEN) with the aim to enable them to integrate in school life and actualise their potential.

In recent years, the Society has expanded its financial education service for youth and their parents. Apart from extending our co-operation with different partners to organise and deliver programmes in this domain, we have set up a Financial Education Centre and launched the “S-QUBE-Youth Financial Empowerment Project” to empower youth with financial literacy through a variety of experiential activities, edutainment and public education programmes. This project has also brought in a proven intervention model, the “Financial Social Work” from the United States, and it will be localised for training social workers and enhancing the sector’s competence in financial management handling and issue prevention.

Hong Kong's rapidly ageing population is a major concern. The Society provides support services to elders and their carers, and has reformed our home-based service model to a range of comprehensive elderly and community support services. To cultivate elders with a sense of belonging, security and worth, the Society offers a variety of services, including pain control and rehabilitation education. We have also set up health care centres on outlying islands and a self-financed service “Viva” in the city to provide flexible day care and rehabilitation programmes for frail elders.

The Society also provides the Dementia Assessment Support Project with the component of Dementia Community Education. We have launched the "Smiley Activation Project – Community /Home-based Depression Treatment for the Elderly” and Advance Care Planning Project to serve their needs. The Society will continue its efforts in collaboration with the public and private partners to offer more intensive support and care for family carers and elders in need so that they can continue to enjoy and live their golden years happily and healthily in the community.

HKFWS has been serving Hong Kong for more than 75 years. Based on our “Family Perspective”, our staff has been dedicated to actualising our mission in serving families and the community with love and passion. We will continue to enhance our service quality and innovate services to meet Hong Kong's changing needs and promote the wellbeing of families and the community.

Embracing changes with love over 75 years

75th anniversary mini-site