In recent years, Mother’s Choice continued to invest in the quality of our services. The major projects included the following.
Expanding the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths tool to Children and Youth Services
This “gold standard” of casework assessment, Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (“CANS”), is a standardized reporting tool that guides service planning by assessing holistically the needs and strengths of individual children and their families with the primary objective of permanency, safety and improved quality of life. The tool allows us to rate and monitor the complexity and progress of a child’s case and provides us with a reliable way to determine whether children are being served with the right intensity of care, and whether that care leads to positive outcomes.
Having developed a Hong Kong version of CANS for children 0-6 years old, we fully embedded the tool into our case management processes and used to assess each child in our care to track the effectiveness and consistency of our programs and services.
Launching e-Case Management for Children’s Services
Leveraging our investments in Salesforce software, a client relationship management tool, and our CANS certification, Mother’s Choice designed an electronic case management system for Child Care Home, Project Bridge and Ordinary Foster Care. This customized system will help us to capture, monitor and analyse client data, services delivered, case trends and outcomes.
E-case management will enable social workers to record the needs of clients, the services delivered, track progress of service plans, incidents and progress notes as well as record outcome assessment results. It systemises case prioritisation and escalation and provides automated standard reports and forms for better efficiency.
Launching the Cuddle Me Program to our Early Intervention Services
At Mother’s Choice, providing early Intervention Services to the babies and children without families that we serve is critical on supporting them in reaching their full potential. Without immediate assessments and access to intensive speech, physical and occupational therapy and other health services, these children would wait for years in the system and have a lower chance of meeting their developmental milestones and eventually joining a forever family.
Many of the children in the care of Mother’s Choice were born premature and/or exposed to substances in-utero. Our new “Cuddle Me” program, piloted in the past year, is now an integral part of the Early Intervention Services that we provide for these babies. This program is tailor-made for developmentally at-risk babies in out-of-home care. By integrating the techniques of cuddling (early nurturing touch, one-to-one interaction, and quick responses), positive correlation was shown with a decrease in infant crying, improvement of healthy sleep, pain relief, physiological stability, weight gain, and growth, shorter hospital stays and improved infant mental health. Research further shows that cuddling can be an effective way of showing infants that they are cared for and loved, and will benefit children for the rest of their lives.
In 2019-2020, the number of children who came to Child Care Home who were premature and/or exposed to substance increased by 7%. A total of 535 hours was dedicated to cuddling the babies during this year. To maintain the quality and sustainability of this program, ten Cuddlers and two Cuddler Trainers qualified to support this program.
Increasing Capacity of Current Approved Foster Families in our Project Bridge Program
We were able to recruit and approve 12 new Project Bridge Families in 2019-2020 bringing our total to 89 families since the commencement of Project Bridge in 2016 with 58% of those families being Chinese speaking. We aim to maintain a steady population of active Project Bridge homes and to enhance their capacity to prepare them for matching with more complicated cases, and continue to actively seek and recruit more families.
*Child Care Home (includes Baby Care and Wee Care)
The mission of our Child Care Home is to change the life stories of children without permanent families by providing a safe and nurturing temporary home with early intervention care so that they can join a loving, stable and permanent family as quickly as possible.
Using a holistic approach, we assess each child’s physical, mental and social development, and develop an individual education plan. We believe this will enable them to reach their full potential, as the first few years of a child’s life are critical to a child’s future development from birth to two years old with capacity for 32 children at any given time.
Wee Care, a service sub-vented by the HK Social Welfare Department (“SWD”), is a temporary home fro children with moderate special needs from birth to six years old with capacity for 12 children at any given time.