Social workers require accreditation

Leong Heng Teng and Vong Yim Mui

The Executive Council finished its analysis of a bill titled “Scheme of professional accreditation and registration for social workers,” which was released to journalists yesterday at the government’s headquarters.

As explained by Executive Council spokesperson Leong Heng Teng, a council called the “Social Worker Professional Committee” (CPAS) will be responsible for social workers’ accreditation, with the ultimate responsibility for registration  of these workers lying with the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS).

CPAS will consist of one chairperson and ten council members.

Five of the members will be proposed by the government, of which three will be selected from the social service sector.

The remaining five can be either social workers or from higher education institutions, professional organizations or social welfare organizations.

This marks the first time the city will have such a council responsible for social workers’ accreditation.

IAS President Vong Yim Mui, when questioned by the press, said that in the future, five IAS council members will be selected from “registered social workers.”

“We do not have any registered social workers yet […] it is difficult to talk about the second council, when the first one has not even started [operations] yet,” explained Vong.

Regarding the selection process of these members, Vong hopes to leave the discussion to the public first.

Vong added that the council should be reselected every three years.

Applicants for accreditation should be Macau residents holding a bachelor or higher degree, and should pass the accreditation exams. Once accredited, successful applicants can register at IAS, after which they can provide services in the private sector as social workers.

While accreditation is permanent, the registration will only be valid for three years.

The bill will come into effect one year after publication, upon which all social workers in the private sector will need to be accredited and registered.

When talking about how this bill concerns non-local social work providers, Vong explained that Macau currently has enough social work graduates.

“We already have a non-local employee policy. For the social workers sector, until now, we never needed non- local workers,” said Vong, adding “because we provide enough social work training, and because there are more than 500 people studying on social worker’s courses. Over 160 students graduated in 2016.”

Vong reiterated that Macau “does not need non-local social workers.”

Regular social housing applications proposed

Two draft bills regarding public housing and the security forces were also announced yesterday. As introduced by Executive Council spokesperson Leong Heng Teng, a draft bill on social housing has proposed that members of the public can apply for social houses at any time of year, but has tightened application requirements. Under the draft bill, applicants would have to be above 23 years of age; applicants are currently only required to be above 18 years of age. The other bill suggested an increase in the area of the selection of management personnel to the Customs Service’s principal officials.

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