The Hong Kong Catholic Marriage Advisory Council is a voluntary organization. It was established in 1965 by Fr. Edward Collins, S.J. (the first appointed Chairman) at the request of the late Bishop Lawrence Bianchi (the first President) to provide Hong Kong with a specialized agency for the improvement of marriage and parenthood. It was formally incorporated in 1967.
The Agency started with Natural Family Planning Services in a few Catholic Hospitals. In 1966, Family Life Education for couples and parents were introduced. Marriage Counselling Services did not begin till 1968 and soon after Pre-marriage Education. Marriage Mediation Counselling, the first of its kind in Hong Kong, started as a cooperation with the Legal Aid Department, Hong Kong Government in 1988.
From 1990s, the Council pioneered various kinds of family and marital services like Parish Volunteers Couples Training Project on delivery of Pre-marriage Courses for newly-wed couples in churches. A Guangzhou Natural Family Planning Project has also been set up to render and promote related consulting service in Mainland China. FOCCUS Service for pre-married couples, Sex Therapy Service and REFOCCUS Service for couples were established in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
In 2004, we launched the Love and Life Education for the students of Catholic Schools. In the same year, the Council streamlined the Marriage Counselling and Family Life Education teams into an Integrated Family Service Centre to provide needy families with one stop services with a community based approach. In order to provide quality Marital Counselling Service, a Self-Financed Specialized Service team was set up in 2006. We further adopted the Emotional Focused Therapy to guide our professional practice as well as professional training. In response to the increasing demands on quality marital counselling and professional training among practitioners, we have set up the Counselling and Training Centre at our Headquarters since 2012. In view of the growing counselling needs of the divorced families, we launched the first co-parenting services for the divorced/separated parents and their children in Hong Kong in 2008. With the support from the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, we rolled out the projects on Continuing Marriage Education and Counselling Service for Catholic Couples in 2013 and 2015, respectively. The projects aimed at cultivating quality and long lasting relationship for Catholic Couples. In response to the service need of the ageing population, we have been launching special projects since 2016, helping retired couples to adjust to retirement and enhance their intimacy in their golden ages. In 2019-2020, we have been entrusted to operate two subvented units, the Specialised Co-parenting Support Centre in the region of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon East, respectively. In the same year, we commenced rendering stationing social work service to 8 kindergartens, under the Pilot Scheme on Social Work Service for Pre-primary Institutions (Phase 2) supported by Social Welfare Department.
Major funding support from the Social Welfare Department, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, The Community Chest of Hong Kong and the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong contribute greatly towards the steady growth of the Agency over the years.