The government of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will create best environment for the growth of children, said HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday.
"The government will continue to allocate substantial resources and roll out measures to create the best environment conducive to the growth of children," Lam said during her visit to a nursery school providing pre-school rehabilitation services in Causeway Bay.
She was briefed by the school principal on its day child care and education services and toured the integrated education classroom to see how children with special needs receive training under On-site Pre-school Rehabilitation Services (OPRS).
"I proposed in the 2017 Policy Address to regularize OPRS in the 2018/19 school year and increase the number of service places from 3,000 to 7,000 incrementally," she said. "The pledge will be realized next month, enabling more pre-school children with special needs to receive necessary training early in their prime learning period."
According to the government, the number of non-governmental organizations operating OPRS will increase from 18 to 21, while the number of kindergartens and kindergarten-cum-child care centers offering the service will rise from 709 to 852, so that more than 80 percent of the kindergartens and kindergarten-cum-child care centers will be covered.
She said the government will continue to review the demand for pre-school rehabilitation services as well as the manpower supply of relevant allied health professionals to achieve the policy objective of "zero waiting time."
In late 2015, the government launched the pilot scheme on OPRS, under which multi-disciplinary teams visit schools to provide services for children with special needs. These teams comprise occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, psychologists, social workers and special child care workers.