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The DAB Family Affairs Committee (termed “the Committee” from here on) decided to hold a tea reception for the media during the New Year period. As the Budget for 2017 will soon be made public, announcing that there will be many handouts for families, we hope that these handouts will help families who may inhabit different circumstances. We also hope that the budget will strengthen funding for mental health, psychiatry and education about mental illness, especially after the tragedies of students committing suicide followed by the immolation of the MTR train car.
The Committee announced its support of core family values and putting these values into action. We have started a magazine, (We are Family) since early 2015 that addresses parental-child relationships, and currently the fifth issue has been published, and we introduced this magazine at the tea reception.
The current issue of the magazine tackles “hands-on parenting” as its cover story, allowing many new parents to share their stories on how they invited a new life into the world and their experience in learning to be parents for the first time. In this issue we interviewed DAB Vice Chairman and Legislative Councilor Holden Chow, who willingly shared every nook and cranny of his relationship with his own son. As well as that, the “family+fun family outings” is suited to the entire family when deciding where to hang out together, and there are both family editorials and an overview of our work in this area.
The “We are Family” magazine is supplied free of cost to district offices, NGOs, Community Colleges, preschools, elementary and secondary schools, family churches, public libraries, pediatrician clinics and so on. We hope that we can express our love and concern for families and core family values can be expressed through these different channels.
News contact: Mr. HUNG Kam-In 9787 6045
The DAB Family Affairs Committee’s hopes and suggestions for the Budget:
1. Increase support for students struggling from emotional distress
a) Increase the number of social workers in schools and improve the training of mental health professionals to provide such services in schools. This will allow them to help students in danger and also to provide deeper services, and help teachers and staff learn some techniques to prevent students from committing suicide.
b) Strengthen the suicide concern hotline. Through phone conversations with youth and children at high risk of suicide, this can help alleviate their emotional distress and introduce the students to services that can help them.
c) Provide resources to put positive messages regarding the sanctity of life and loving oneself and one’s family on various social media platforms.
2)Increase funding for mental health services
d) Increase mental health services and provide funding to health and social welfare organizations to increase cooperation between them. Strengthen community outreach services and provide support towards rehabilitation and recovery for patients. At the same time, strengthen our outreach and education efforts and make education on mental health into a priority in order to increase public knowledge of the issue. This will help in preventative methods to help alleviate mental issues before they begin.
3)Increase support for Cognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s
e) Increase funding and support for the elderly who suffer from cognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. This includes providing training to nurses in relevant nursing homes and teaching these nurses methods to help such patients. Strengthen the ability of the Hospital Authority to provide care and support services for such patients, such as increasing the number of staff, developing individual rehabilitation programs for each patient and monitoring each patient’s rehabilitation progress in an effective manner. At the same time, establish support centres for Cognitive Disorders and Alzheimer’s disease in each district. These centres not only provide support and training for families and caregivers of elderly people with cognitive disorders or Alzheimer’s, families will also learn how to effectively care for their loved ones through lectures and this will increase the understanding of cognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s in the general public.
4) Provide support to families at high risk or families with special needs
f) Allocate additional resources to strengthen support services for high-risk families and increase regional integrated family services centres in order to enhance the coverage of family services. This will help provide comprehensive and one-stop service to families in need of them
g) Strengthen the education and training of teachers on students with special needs and provide financial support for pre-school institutions with special needs children.
5) Fund and Support those giving birth locally
h) Provide comprehensive support to encourage local pregnancies and birth. Also, grant parental benefits to middle and low-income families with children aged 3 or below.
i) Increase funding for maternity support services, including additional support for reproductive support services in order to provide more medical support to women who wish to give birth.
j) Expand the existing community to cater for managed services in order to increase the number of child care places in each district. Provide flexible time slots for child care services and provide nurseries and nursing rooms in public places.
6) Establish a family social fund
k) To ensure that the Government can more effectively integrate resources and provide faster and more accurate support for families in need, it is proposed that the Government should set up a “Family Social Fund” to be managed by the Family Council in order to support social welfare organizations help organize activities related to family education.
7) Provide financial support
l) Provide subsidies at 2017/18 Annual rates for each year, with an upper limit of $ 2,500 per household.
m) Provide rebates to 75 per cent of salaries tax and personal assessment for the 2016/2017 fiscal year, with the ceiling at $ 20,000.
n) Subsidize one month’s rent for public housing tenants
o) Grant an additional month’s worth of subsidy for the OALA, OLA and the Disability allowance for those eligible to receive them.
p) Provide a subsidy for the electricity fee at $1800 for each household.
q) Rebate the landowner’s land tax for a year, upper limit at $4800
8) Increase tax allowances
r) Increase the tax allowance of the dependent sibling allowance from $33,000 to $43,000.
s) Increase the tax allowance of the Dependent Parent and dependent grandparent allowance from $46,000 to $50,000.
t) Establish a tax allowance for children’s education, upper limit at $50,000.
u) Increase the period for home income tax deduction from 15 to 20 years.
v) Set up a tax allowance for homes, upper limit at $100,000 for a period of 20 years.
w) Increase the tax allowance of the “disabled dependant allowance” from $66,000 to $76,000, and to expand the scope of these benefits to the “Disabled Dependant Allowance in respect of a dependant who suffers from a chronic illness”. This will help relieve the tax burden on those taking care of patients with disabilities and long term illnesses.
x) Set up a tax allowance for those hiring foreign helpers.
9) Improve the tax allowance system
y) Allow parents with more than one child to apply for individual tax allowances for each child.
z) Allow children of seniors who are participating in the “Guangdong Scheme” to support their parents, grandparents or great grandparents through the non-cohabitation allowance.
i)siblings to apportion the allowance for dependent parents, grandparents or grandparents and allow them to apply for Deduction Elderly Residential Care Expenses.