We would like to congratulate Mother’s Choice on achieving the Keeping Children Safe Level 2 Certification.
Mother’s Choice is a Hong Kong-based charity serving the many children without families and pregnant teenagers. They work closely with their community to give hope and change the life stories of vulnerable girls and babies. Their vision is to see every child in a loving family.
This reflects the hard work their teams have done in implementing a comprehensive child safeguarding framework, meeting stringent international standards for protecting children and youth from harm, and ensures there will be an appropriate response to any concerns should they occur.
As always, we asked them about how they feel about their experience in working with the KCS team to achieve their Level 2 Certification:
When did Mother’s Choice join/achieve certification?
Mother’s Choice achieved Level 1 Certification in November 2019 and Level 2 Certification in January 2021.
This certification represents the tremendous efforts made by every member of our team of staff, volunteers, partners, foster families, donors, and supporters to ensure that we can build an organization that keeps the safety of children as our highest priority.
What made you decide to join the KCS members’ network?
We are facing a child protection crisis in Hong Kong. Each day, we see increasing numbers of heartbreaking stories of children who are victims of abuse and neglect. These stories reflect the soaring number of child abuse cases reported by the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department, with the highest percentage of new cases reported in infants aged just 0-2 years old. Many of these children are referred to the care system, which is stretched at full capacity, with long waitlists and many staying for years without ever having experienced a safe, loving, and permanent family.
As an organization serving children without families and pregnant teenagers, we wanted to hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards of child safeguarding. The Mother’s Choice leadership team are deeply committed to investing the resources required, which started with building our comprehensive child protection framework, and embedding measures into every aspect of our work. We worked hard to ensure that it met stringent international standards for protecting children from harm, and that there is an appropriate response to any concerns should they occur. Keeping Children Safe supported us on this journey by providing mentoring and guidance throughout our audit and certification process.
What is your key driver to implementing child safeguarding?
Our vision is to see every child in a loving family. When children are in a family, we believe this changes their lives, the generations that come from them, and the surrounding community. While in our care and programs, and are interacting with staff and volunteers, we have a great responsibility to ensure that the children, youth, and families we serve are not harmed in any aspect of their engagement with our services.
The impact of child abuse negatively affects children, their families, and their communities for generations. We know that child protection policies keep children safe, and every child in Hong Kong has the right to be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect. While child protection policies will not eliminate the risk of abuse, evidence shows that policies and training raise knowledge and awareness, minimize risks of harm, and recognize the rights, values, and voices of all children.
Where do you think your organisation will be regarding child safeguarding in a year?
Child Protection is everything we do to prevent and respond to child abuse, and at Mother’s Choice, we believe it is everyone’s responsibility. Each member of our team has an important role to play as we create safe, child-friendly environments where every child is respected, protected, and heard. Since we embedded our child safeguarding initiatives, the results and feedback from team surveys show that not only are our staff and volunteers more knowledgeable about child safeguarding than we were three years ago, but we are more confident to identify, respond to, and report abuse.
For our vision to see every child in a loving family to be realized, we need to be a catalyst for positive social change across our whole community, as the issues we tackle are complex. From teen pregnancy to children living in the care system, it will take many individuals and organisations from different sectors of society working together to bring lasting change. That’s why our mission is to join hands with the community, to give hope and change life stories. This means we share generously of our child protection journey and materials with others who wish to begin their own meaningful journey of keeping children safe.
What message do you want to tell your staff, volunteers, donors and the wider world?
We have seen how powerful it is when our community works together to turn crisis into hope. Everyone has a role to play, and everyone can make a difference. We have the courage to stand up for children in our adversity and go into unchartered territory to be a voice for children. Mother’s Choice achieved Keeping Children Safe Level 2 Certification in 2021 because of the great courage and commitment of our staff and volunteers to put children in the centre of all decisions and actions we make.
We deeply appreciate our partnerships with our donors who have placed their trust in us and encouraged us on our child protection journey, specifically the Macquarie Group Foundation who believed that child safeguarding was worth investing in and acted as our first referee to become a member of the Keeping Children Safe network.