Initiated and funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust in 2018 with a donation of over HK$157 million, the four-year Jockey Club SMART Family-Link Project is a cross-sectoral collaboration to advance the use of Information and Communications Technology (“ICT”) in family services. The Project aims to devise an innovative and evidence-based family service delivery model that leverages the effective use of ICT and data analytics to enable service users to better benefit from preventive, supportive and early remedial services provided by all 26 NGO-operated Integrated Family Service Centres (IFSCs) and Integrated Service Centres (ISCs) to promote family well-being. The Project develops an online platform for capacity building, co-creation and co-learning of staff; and organises public education and knowledge transfer programmes to strengthen family functioning.
Project partners include The University of Hong Kong (School of Public Health and Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative); Caritas – Hong Kong; Hong Kong Family Welfare Society; Hong Kong Christian Service; International Social Service Hong Kong Branch; Christian Family Service Centre; The Hong Kong Catholic Marriage Advisory Council; Hong Kong Children and Youth Services; St. James’ Settlement; Tung Wah Group of Hospitals; Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council and The Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council.
Through cross-sectoral collaboration between NGOs and academia, the Project aims to:
- Minimize administrative work, release more resources for preventive programmes and enable data-driven service delivery in IFSCs;
- Improve access, broaden the reach to family services, reduce stigmatisation by leveraging ICT and adopting a positive approach to strengthen family functioning, facilitate identification and intervention for families in need;
- Build capacity of frontline workers in family services through an e-platform and knowledge transfer initiatives to facilitate efficient sharing, flexible learning and easy co-creation;
- Capitalise on big data analytics for better service planning and in identifying trends, predicting needs and evaluating service effectiveness; and
- Raise public awareness of family well-being.
Integrated Family Service Centres (IFSCs)
A content management system will be developed for IFSCs, covering client information system, casework, groups and programmes management, assessment tools, statistical reports and other administrative functions. The system will help reduce manual input and administrative work, facilitate early identification of at-risks cases and perform data analysis both at centre-level and aggregated across centres and NGOs. Participating IFSCs will be equipped with electronic hardware and ICT applications to enhance service delivery.
- Minimize administrative work through the content management system (i-Connect) developed for IFSCs
- Enable data-driven service delivery
- More effective case maintenance and relapse prevention
- Broaden the reach
- Release more resources for preventive programmes
Capacity Building (Professionals)
An online platform will be developed to facilitate IFSC staff in sharing common information, useful resources and practice wisdom, both within the IFSC and across different centres in a co-learning e-circle. Online training courses that the staff can enrol in at their convenience will also be developed.
- Develop an e-platform for efficient sharing, flexible learning and easy co-creation
- Build capacity of frontline workers through e-learning
- Provide a handy resource hub
- Carry out big data analytics for identifying trends, predicting needs and evaluating effectiveness
Community (Individuals & Families)
Social media events, press events, mass media dissemination, media interviews, flagship mass community events, and public education campaigns will be utilised to increase public knowledge and understanding of healthy family functioning. Evidence-based positive family protocols, manuals, and practices will be produced and disseminated in family forums to encourage more social workers to organise family-based activities using ICT.
- Adopt a positive approach to strengthen family functioning
- Facilitate early identification of and intervention for families in need
- Improve access to family services and reduce stigmatisation
Big Data Analysis and Evaluation
The School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong (HKU SPH) will perform big data analysis on the data gathered through the i-Connect system. Such analysis can then help policymakers, IFSC operators, and even individual social workers understand the emerging service needs and proactively adjust their services accordingly to meet future needs. HKU SPH will also conduct the overall evaluation of the Project by assessing its impact on individual, community, and systemic levels.
- Big data analytics for identifying trends, predicting needs and evaluating effectiveness