The Social Welfare Department today expressed regret over a protest which caused obstructions at its headquarters.

 

The department earlier indicated that a conference room had been arranged for a meeting with the protesters’ representatives.

 

However, they declined the arrangements and blocked entrances to multiple floors of the department’s headquarters.

 

The department said it is continuously communicating with the social welfare sector and has implemented ad hoc measures to respond to the demands for welfare services caused by recent social disputes.

 

Such measures include exercising flexibility for youth and family service units’ attainment of output standards so social workers can provide flexible services for affected teenagers along with the setting up of hotlines by non-governmental organisations to provide emotional support for youngsters in need.

 

Cross-district overnight outreach services are being provided by an NGO to serve students and youngsters, and the department has advanced the implementation of the “two social workers for each secondary school” during the summer holiday for counselling emotionally distressed students.

 

It has also extended a range of youth services to people aged up to 29, while its Clinical Psychology Units provide services to emotionally distressed youth referred by NGO youth service units.

 

The Social Welfare Department said it stands ready to have rational discussions with the sector, including frontline social workers, on relevant issues and called on protesters not to affect its normal operation.