STAFF at the Ma Tau Wai Girls' Home will meet the Government today to discuss improved security measures, after four girls armed themselves with shards of broken glass for an escape attempt. Wednesday's incident was the second in a week, prompting social workers' unions and legislators to campaign for better staffing at juvenile homes. Six girls at another facility successfully made their escape on October 4, and four are still missing. Sources said the two cases were not isolated incidences and the problem was more common at boys' homes, where some inmates had tried to escape by threatening staff with implements fashioned from window frames. The girls have made statements to social workers, a copy of which has been obtained by the South China Morning Post, explaining why they wanted to escape from Ma Tau Wai. One 15-year-old girl said: ''We all missed our homes, someone suggested leaving.'' Some of the girls said they hid pieces of a broken mirror in their sleeves before attending a class on Monday afternoon. ''I had two [pieces of broken glass] in each of my trouser pockets and another piece up my sleeve. I intended to use it to commit suicide if necessary,'' one girl said. Halfway through the lesson the girls overturned a table. The social workers on duty reacted quickly and managed to overpower them. ''I did not really want to threaten the mistress to escape, it was only because I miss my family, I hope I can be given a chance,'' one girl wrote in her statement. Police working on the case last night charged a 14-year-old girl with criminal damage. Social workers at the home will raise their concern about inadequate security when they meet the Government today. ''Some of the workers suffered from shock and couldn't sleep the night after the incident as they are trained only for counselling services and not correctional discipline,'' social workers at the home said. They said that due to a manpower shortage, adequate counselling for inmates was unavailable and as a result the home could not really provide a rehabilitation service. The number of inmates at the home has dropped from 260 in summer to about 140. There are about 10 social workers on the morning shift and two at night. ''But all the social workers are still working under great pressure. There has been a case in which six of the 10 workers on the same shift took sick leave,'' one staff member said. The Acting Assistant Director of Youth and Rehabilitation, Agnes Chow Ma Wan-ming, said: ''The department has taken adequate measures to ensure the smooth running of the day-to-day business of the home and that the girls under our care are receiving proper services.'' A department spokesman said the mirrors might have to be removed from the home and staffing in juvenile centres increased, once extra funding for social welfare services - recently promised by Governor Chris Patten - was available. The convenor of the Legislative Council's social welfare panel, Hui Yin-fat, said the Government should review security measures, staffing levels and quality of staff at juvenile homes. ''The homes have suffered from inadequate staffing for many years, but the Government is reluctant to give more money to increase manpower,'' he said. Police are still searching for the four girls who escaped last week. They were among nine inmates being transferred from Ma Tau Wai to the Pui Chi Boys' Home because of overcrowding following an influx in the number of underage girls arrested for working in karaoke bars. They fled when the main door of the home was opened for workers who supply food to the centre daily. Two of the escapees were caught two days later.