Orphange Summaries

Posted on March 6th, 2020 by Debbie

Po Leung Kuk

AFFILIATION:

Chinese charitable association whose members served as the Board

GOVERNANCE:

Chinese charitable association whose members served as the Board; Superintendent has no decision-making authority.

ADMINSTRATION:

Superintendent (an untrained social worker on loan from the Hong Kong Department of Social Welfare)

Visiting medical officer who made weekly rounds, possibly several times a week

2 caseworkers with heavy paperwork responsibilities

2 nurses, a supervisor and assistant supervisor who worked with sick infants

2 nurse’s aides

Amah’s (teenagers per Lau, who with children <5)

2 housemothers who lived next to dorms for children .5, assisted by 2 Amah’s 

BUILDING/LOCATION:

Main two-story building by high wall, three wings as well, large rooms but cold in Winter and hot in summer, 30-40 children in dormitories like hospital awards with beds in rows. 3 wards of children aged 4-6 have no beds and sleep on plywood.  A home for unwed mothers and a vocational training school is also within this complex. On the northern edge of Victoria Island, a middle-income neighbourhood bordered by business district and low wage district, a busy area but with and enclosed garden.

CAPACITY AGE:

450 children from infancy to age 18; Wards of 30-40 children grouped by age (when possible by sex) as “families”.

STAFF RATIO/S:

Amah’s only regular caregivers and rarely present except during feeding and changing.  Ratio 1:22 per Lau.

ROUTINES

Cleanliness and discipline emphasized, lack of organised games and outings; not a homelike environment.  Children as old as 3 confined to cribs, much rocking, head banging and self-soothing observed.  No stable mother figure for youngest children.  Children age 4-6 attended school half day but otherwise were confined to dormitory and to their “beds” so not allowed to play together; mechanical sternness from housemother observed by Lau.  Older Children had a full day of school, chores and some free play time.  Despite being 15 minutes from the heart of Hong Kong all children were virtually isolated.  Diet: standard rice gruel with bits of meat and fish.

CHILD OUTCOMES

Per Lau the Po Lueng Kuk children in his study were “uniformly malnourished” and small for their age.  Many suffered insect bites and skin problems

St Christopher’s

AFFILIATION:

Church of England

GOVERNANCE:

Committee chaired by Bishop of Diocese of Hong Kong

ADMINISTRATION:

Superintendent

Assistant Superintendent after June 1964

Matron for Babies Section (including children up to age 5)

4 House mothers and 5 house fathers for children >age 7

38 child care workers in Babies Section

BUILDING/LOCATION:

Former temple overlooking Tolo harbour, on the eastern shore of the New Territories, with 45 acres of land about 13.1/2 miles north of Kowloon.  Many wings and rooms added, rooms described as large and airy, some had air conditioning, verandas with toys available and children used gardens for exercise when permitted.

CAPACITY/BY AGE:

-340 at maximum expansion; 160 babies and 180 older children ranging up to 18 but mostly much younger.

STAFF RATIO/S:

Varied but based on different wards of Babies’ Section, 6 amahs for 90 children would make a ratio of 1:15, but since the amah’s worked in shifts the actual ratio would be even worse. Amah’s were noted to have 1-2 favourite children with little personal attention for most.

ROUTINES

Emphasis on education and self-sufficiency for older children; St Christopher’s School was attended by local children outside orphanage as well. Due to staff ratios babies often fed by propping bottles in cribs, toilet training often delayed.  Older children lived in cottages under house mothers and fathers, assigned chores including cooking and shopping, also raised their own livestock and crops-half day in school and half day in fields or vocational training.  Recreation included basketball, football, badminton, ping pong and swimming. Chorus, 5000 book library, motion pictures and playground with jungle gym available.

CHILD OUTCOMES

Children available for intercountry adoption through ISS but many seemed to age out and maintain ties with St Christopher’s as adults, often as employees.  “Many” also adopted locally, but not that Lau suggest that for all Hong Kong orphanages domestic adoption was rare due to children being locally adopted before arriving at an orphanage.

Shatin

AFFILIATION:

Mildred Dibden; refused affiliation with any charity

GOVERNANCE:

Mildred Dibden

ADMINISTRATION:

Mildred Dibden

Two English assistants, Valerie Conibear and Wendy Blackmur (who would go on to open Hope of Loving Happiness in Fanling in 1966 when Dibden returned to England).

Amah’s

BUILDING/LOCATION:

Former Shatin police barracks, a two -tory brick and wood building, enclosed with 3 other wings to form a courtyard in 1957.  Located in Shatin near to Fanling but father from Chinese border in eastern/central New Territories, closer to Kowloon.  Lau notes location on promontory overlooking the sea, picturesque but very isolated, requiring crossing a wooden footbridge to access home, with magnificent vistas.  Lau describes rooms barren and sparsely furnished but notes playground with swings and equipment.

CAPACITY/BY AGE:

No set capacity but Dibden stopped taking referrals in 1959 with 72 girls and 4 boys.  Homogenous age groupings in both classroom and dormitories.

STAFF RATIO/S:

Varied but Lau notes that Dibden employed approximately 1 amah for every 11 children so 1:11. Fanling Babies Home we history of Shatin Hose notes that at one-point staff consisted of a cook, a gardener, several “nurse girls’’ eight amah’s and four women teachers.  Amah’s were discouraged from forming relationships with children by Dibden (per Lau) because they were seen as having ‘rough ways”.  All children saw Dibden every day.

ROUTINES

Heavy religious component, Sunday School and church service, two evening services with hymns and bible stories for older children, grace before meals and bedtime prayers.  Education in classroom also used religious stories, and children’s conversation was sprinkled with references to Jesus.  Older children helped with younger.  Lau notes an absence of squabbling and internal strife.  Each given a share common surname (Yip meaning “leaf”) and individual Christian and Chinese first names.

CHILD OUTCOMES

Lau notes children more fearful away from home, fearful of change and novelty, acted as younger children do and clung to kind strangers. Better nourishment that other orphanages but still some moderate malnourishment and growth/height norms.

Fanling Babies Home

AFFILIATION:

Protestant Church

GOVERNANCE:

Protestant Church group (originally Hong Kong Evangelical Fraternity, then Christian Children Fund after 1946

ADMINISTRATION:

Superintendent (Lucy Clay, English trained nurse specialising in Child care, fluent in Cantonese).

2 Assistant Superintendents

2 Nurses

Nurses aides (junior high education)

Amah’s (loving but had favourites, lacked skilled handling emotional care per Lau)

BUILDING/LOCATION:

Two-storey Chinese room is spacious, divided into six wards, with two smaller houses.  Each room is spacious, well-ventilated, sunny for part of the day, and painted in pastel colours.  In the Fanling region in the northwest New Territories 4km from Chinese Border; in 1966 closes here and relocates, becoming Pine Hill Babies Home overlooking Taipo Harbour in northeast New Territories.

CAPACITY/BY AGE:

100 children from infancy to age 6; historically many infants and children <2 or 3.

STAFF RATIO/S:

Nurse and nurse aides; 1 nurse and 3 nurse aides for 2 wards of 14-16 children each.  Ratio = 1:8, however, Lau reports 1:13 ratio of caretakers to child, noting that nurses focused most on infants and were responsible for entire house.

ROUTINES

Warm, home-like atmosphere per Lau; nursery school began at age 3 up to 3rdgrade.  Some toys available; more adult interaction rather than RC.  Children able to interact with one another but Lau suggests low age range made this difficult due to lack of social skills.  Diet: standard rice gruel with bits of meat and fish.

CHILD OUTCOMES

Per Lau one half the Fanling children in his study markedly malnourished.

Chuk Yen Children’s Reception Centre

AFFILIATION:

Government of Hong Kong

GOVERNANCE:

Social Welfare Department, Child Welfare Section

ADMINISTRATION:

Superintendent

Assistant Superintendent

Welfare Assistant

2 qualified nurses

10 nurse aides

11 amahs’

2 cooks

1 labourer

1 driver

BUILDING/LOCATION:

Located in Kowloon near the Resettlement Area, surrounded by a hospital and school.  4-storied 

L-shaped building of 10,000 square feet with a playground, well ventilated with two sick rooms. One for “mental children”.  Rooms were clean, whitewashed. Equipped with both fan and heater for all seasons and decorated with magazine pictures of babies.

CAPACITY/BY AGE:

Seemed to vary given nature of mission as a reception centre, but -65 children 0-8years was the norm.

STAFF RATIO/S:

4 amah’s and 4 nurse aides worked on each shift over a three-shift schedule for a ratio of about 1:8.

ROUTINES

Babies are described as crib bound and placed in rocking chairs on veranda outside ward if they cry too much, also described as observant of their surroundings and other babies.

CHILD OUTCOMES

Generally unknown; Lau notes that all orphanages in his study had malnourished and developmentally delayed children.  Some children were place in Chuk Yuen with the knowledge of their biological parents and may have been able to return to them.  Lau suggests that for Hong Kong orphanages domestic adoption was rare due to children being locally adopted before arriving at an orphanage.

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