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CNN|Position paper to the LegCo Subcommittee on Promoting Carer-centric Policies on Carer's Support

"Care Neighbourhood Network (CNN) - The All-in-One Carer Support Platform ("the Platform") is formed by a cross-sectoral group of stakeholders in Tai Po, comprising carers, social welfare organisations, religious organisations and social enterprises, and is committed to supporting the needs of carers in the district, raising the awareness of the community towards carers, and building a "Carer-Friendly Community" through community collaboration. In Policy Address 2022, the Government has mentioned measures to enhance support for carers, and the Platform is aware that the Panel on Welfare Services will discuss the "Support for Carers" motion in June 2023. Carer-conscious organisations look forward to the Government and Members of the Legislative Council implementing a more comprehensive and targeted carer-friendly policy and support. 


Recognition of Unpaid Labour and Formulation of a More Comprehensive Carer-oriented Policy

According to the Hong Kong Women's Survey 2021, there are more than 650,000 full-time homemakers in Hong Kong, of which more than 94% are women. Extrapolating from different data, there are millions of carers in Hong Kong, most of whom are women. However, unpaid caring work is often neglected by the community. It prevents them from meeting their needs at different stages of their lives, such as long-term care services, medical needs, respite needs, self-development needs, employment needs, financial needs, and so on. It is, therefore, necessary for the Government to provide comprehensive support to carers from a carer-centred perspective. 


Establishment of Carer-oriented Policies and Services

At present, carers' services depend on the community centres providing various services, and carers have to seek help from different organisations, so they cannot escape the predicament of being "dependent on their carers". To cater for the needs of other carers and solve the problem of insufficient service resources, the Platform suggests that the Government should expeditiously implement a carer-oriented policy and set up dedicated service centres and outreach support teams for carers, including case management, 24-hour emergency support hotline, carers' social work teams, carers' mutual help networks, respite services, emergency respite services, etc., so that carers of different levels and needs can be provided with dedicated support services through different means. This will enable carers of different levels and needs to receive tailor-made support. 


Definition of carers should cover child carers and other carers

Although the Government has taken elderly carers and carers of persons with disabilities as the main targets in formulating the carer support policy, under the framework of developing an overall carer-oriented policy, it is necessary to include child carers, carers of the chronically ill, carers of children with special learning needs, and so on, in the definition of carers, to provide more comprehensive support and recognition to carers. At the same time, the Government should set up a particular statistical database for carers as soon as possible to accurately grasp the needs of the carer community and plan for services. 


Responding to the demands of the community for a more comprehensive financial assistance programme

The Government has yet to be able to respond to the demands of carers and public organisations for subsidies for carers, which has even led to competition for resources between carers and their carers. The Platform considers that the Government should regularise the carer allowance as soon as possible, substantially lower the application threshold and increase the number of places, and include child carers in the allowance to support carers in their daily life and financial pressure and to recognise the value of carers' unpaid work.

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