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Singapore Government
Asian Family Conference 2019

Asian Family Conference 2019

13 November 2019, Wednesday, 9.00am
Mandarin Orchard Hotel

The Asian Family Conference 2019 brings together professionals, academics, and policymakers to discuss emerging trends, policies, and practices to better support parents in their parenting journey. Through this conference, we hope to build and strengthen networks amongst global Evidence-Based Programmes practitioners and implementers, and collectively enhance our understanding of how we can better equip parents with positive parenting practices and competencies for improved child and family outcomes.

Representatives from the people and public sectors, academia as well as media are expected to attend the conference.

The conference is by invite only.

See photos from the Conference here


Opening speech by Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development

“Transforming Lives through Positive Parenting”
Keynote Speech 1 by Professor Matthew Sanders(Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of Parenting and Family Support Centre, University of Queensland and Founder of Triple P – Positive Parenting Program)

“Impact of Parenting and Family Functioning on Child and Adolescent Developmental Outcomes in Hong Kong”
Keynote Speech 2 by Professor Daniel Shek (Chairman, Family Council of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR, and Associate Vice President, Chair Professor of Applied Social Sciences, and Li and Fung Professor in Service Leadership)

Panel moderated by Prof Paulin Straughan, Professor of Sociology (Practice) and Dean of Students, Singapore Management University, Singapore



Panel Session 1: Parenting Our Children

Moderated by Dr Mathew Mathews, Senior Research Fellow/Institute of Policy Studies; Families for Life Council Member

1. Dr Cheung Hoi Shan (Assistant Professor, Division of Social Sciences/Yale-NUS College) “Parenting in Singapore: Possible Cultural Variations and Local Implications”
2. Dr Nirmala Karuppiah (Head/Early Childhood & Special Needs Education, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University) “Parents Perception of Play and Holistic Development in Early Years”
3. Dr Qu Lixia (Senior Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Family Studies) “Parenting and Family Relationship Dynamics after Separation in Australia: Findings from the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families”



Panel Session 2: Wisdom from the Field: Parenting Programs… How Effective?

Moderated by Dr Quah Saw Han (Director/The Affinity People Pte Ltd; Member of MSF’s Advisory Panel on Parenting)

1. Mr Warren Cann (Chief Executive Officer/Parenting Research Centre, Australia) “A Relational-Invitational Approach to Working with Parents: A Framework for Practice”
2. Dr Dorcas Yap (Senior Psychologist, Department of Child Development/KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital) “Evaluation of the Signposts Parenting Programme at KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital, Singapore”
3. Ms Vivienne Ng (Chief Psychologist, Ministry of Social and Family Development) “Tiered Evidence-Based Parenting Programmes Delivered through Schools: Evaluation Findings from Singapore”



Panel Session 3: Looking Ahead: Supporting Grandparents

Moderated by A/P Thang Leng Leng (Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, National University of Singapore; MSF Research Advisor)

1. Ms Anne Hollonds (Director, Australian Institute of Family Studies) “Grandparents as Primary Carers”
2. Prof Cynthia Leung (Professor, Hong Kong Polytechnic University) “Effectiveness of Grandparent Triple P Program with Hong Kong Chinese Families”
3. A/P Esther Goh (Head/Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore) “Granny as Nanny: Positive Outcomes for Grandparents Providing Childcare for Dual-Income Families. Fact or Myth?”

End of Programme


  • Professor Matthew Sanders
    Professor Matthew Sanders
    Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of Parenting and Family Support Centre, University of Queensland and Founder of Triple P – Positive Parenting Program

    Dr Matthew Sanders is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Parenting and Family Support Centre at The University of Queensland. He is the founder of the internationally recognized Triple P-Positive Parenting Program, and a world leader in the application of public health approaches to parenting intervention. Triple P was the first evidenced-based public health model of parenting intervention to be experimentally tested, and the program has since been translated into 21 languages other than English and disseminated to 28 countries worldwide. Over 100,000 practitioners have been trained in the use of Triple P globally.

    Professor Sanders has continued to publish extensively in the area of parenting, family psychology and the prevention of social, emotional and behavioural problems in children. He is known for conducting a large number of high quality randomised trials of parenting interventions, many of which have been published in top peer-reviewed journals. Professor Sanders has had a major international impact on child and parenting research, policy and practice, acting as a consultant to the Council of Europe and the World Health Organization on Positive Parenting, in addition to his role as an Australian Psychological Society spokesperson on child and family matters. Professor Sanders continues to actively promote positive parenting strategies throughout his local community through regular appearances in local, national and international media including radio, television and print media.

  • Professor Daniel Shek
    Professor Daniel Shek
    Chairman, Family Council of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR, and Associate Vice President, Chair Professor of Applied Social Sciences, and Li and Fung Professor in Service Leadership

    Professor Shek (PhD, FHKPS, BBS, SBS, JP) is Associate Vice President, Chair Professor of Applied Social Sciences, and Li and Fung Professor in Service Leadership Education at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is also Advisory Professor of East China Normal University and Honorary Professor of Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau.

    During his stay at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, he was awarded two teaching awards. In 2016, he was awarded the Bronze Award (Ethical Leadership) and the Bronze Award (Social Enterprise) in the QS Reimagine Education Awards. In 2017, he was again awarded the Silver Award (Ethical Leadership) and the Gold Award (Sustainability) in the QS Reimagine Education Awards. In 2018, he was awarded the University Grants Committee Teaching Award in Hong Kong.

    He is the Chief Editor of Journal of Youth Studies and Applied Research in Quality of Life and past Consulting Editor of Journal of Clinical Psychology and Editorial Advisor of British Journal of Social Work. He is a Series Editor of Quality of Life in Asia published by Springer and an Associate Editor of the Encyclopedia of Family Studies published by Wiley-Blackwell. He is Editorial Board member of many international journals, including Journal of Child and Family Studies, Children and Youth Services Review, International Journal of Behavioral Development and Journal of Adolescent Health. He was awarded the 2017 ISQOLS Distinguished QOL Researcher Award by the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies.

    Professor Shek is the former Chairman of Action Committee Against Narcotics and current Chairman of the Family Council of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

  • Professor Paulin Straughan
    Professor Paulin Straughan
    Professor of Sociology (Practice) and Dean of Students at Singapore Management University

    Professor Paulin Straughan’s research interests center around sociology of family and medical sociology. Her current research investigates environmental risk factors in childhood obesity. She is also the Principal Investigator of recently concluded project on Successful Ageing in Singapore, Seoul and Shanghai which involved multiple institutions and a multidisciplinary team.

    Professor Straughan serves as Consultant on numerous projects commissioned by various government agencies. Amongst others, she is Principal Consultant for the Marriage and Parenthood Survey 2016 & 2012, which were commissioned by the National Population and Talent Division. She has published in both sociology and medical journals, like Social Science and Medicine, Cancer, and Cancer Causes and Control. Her books include Marriage Dissolution in Singapore: Revisiting Family Values and Ideology in Marriage, and Ultra-Low Fertility in Pacific Asia: Trends, Causes and Policy Issue (with Gavin Jones and Angelique Chan).

    Professor Straughan was a Nominated Member of Parliament from 2009 to 2011, during which she argued for work-life balance and the nurture of a more pro-family social environment. Her community involvement includes serving on the Child and Youth Health Task Force, and the Infectious Disease Research Advisory Group (both at the Ministry of Health).

    She is happily married to an Applied Mathematician, and they have 2 sons.

  • Dr Cheung Hoi Shan
    Dr Cheung Hoi Shan
    Assistant Professor of Psychology, Division of Social Sciences, Yale-NUS College

    Dr Cheung Hoi Shan began her research career in 2004 at the Singapore Children’s Society, a voluntary welfare organisation which played a major role in nurturing her interest in parenting research in Singapore. She obtained a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2014, where she examined how parental sensitive behaviour is related to children’s peer relationship in pre-school. She continued to develop her research in attachment theory and school bullying, as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at NUS and later a visiting scholar in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University. Dr Cheung joined Yale-NUS College as an Assistant Professor of Psychology in 2017.

    Dr Cheung’s current work investigates parenting styles and practices in Singapore and different cultures, and their influence on children’s development. Other research interests include parents’ use of disciplinary practices and corporal punishment, parent-peer dynamics in adolescence, social stratification and children’s academic self-concept and aspirations, as well as academic stress in childhood.

  • Dr Nirmala Karuppiah
    Dr Nirmala Karuppiah
    Head, Early Childhood & Special Needs Education, National Institute of Education

    Dr Nirmala Karuppiah is currently the Head of the Early Childhood and Special Needs Education, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. She is involved in teacher education, professional development, research, and dissertation/thesis supervision and examination.

    She has served many years in the field of early childhood education in Singapore, holding various positions including lecturer, practicum supervisor, curriculum consultant and research advisor. She also serves in various governmental and non-governmental Advisory Committees related to early childhood education in Singapore.

    Her areas of research include multicultural education, teacher-child interaction, play and technology for children. She has presented papers at several local and international early childhood conferences. She has also published books and CD-ROMS as well as articles in the local media and international journals. She has also conducted talks for parents, and workshops for teachers in and outside Singapore. Her work experience spans several countries including Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia. She is also involved in service projects in Cambodia and India.

  • Dr Qu Lixia
    Dr Qu Lixia
    Senior Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Family Studies

    Dr Qu is a sociologist and demographer at the Australian Institute of Family Studies. She has undertaken a wide range of research on family-related issues including couple formation and re-formation, relationship stability, factors contributing to fertility decision-making, pathways to and from different living arrangements, parenting arrangements after separation, and the impacts of parental separation on financial living standards. She has also undertaken considerable research into the impacts of changes in living arrangements, including parental separation, on personal wellbeing.

    Dr Qu has extensive experience in all stages of research design and implementation. She has managed the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families, and Foster and Relative/Kinship Carers, and most of the above-mentioned studies on family trends and transitions. She also played a leading role in the development of all phases of the various evaluations of amendments to the Family Law Act (1975) and of family-related service provision.

  • Dr Mathew Mathews
    Dr Mathew Mathews
    Senior Research Fellow/Institute of Policy Studies; Families for Life Council Member

    Dr Mathew Mathews is Head of IPS Social Lab, a centre for social indicator research and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, National University of Singapore. To date, Mathews has been involved in over forty research projects on a range of social policy issues. Mathews' research on the family includes studies on marriage and parenthood aspirations and practice, the challenges of low-income and single parenthood and most recently a study on parents and how they navigate the academic stressors their children face.

    Mathews has taught courses on social policy and has published in a range of academic and media outlets. He sits on various boards and panels including the Families for Life Council and the VWOs-Charities Capability Fund Panel. He is a Research Advisor to the Ministry of Social and Family Development and an Adjunct faculty member of the Geriatric Education Research Institute.

  • Mr Warren Cann
    Mr Warren Cann
    CEO, Parenting Research Centre, Australia

    Mr Warren Cann is a clinically trained psychologist and CEO of the Parenting Research Centre, an Australian organisation that aims to support innovation in parenting and family support. He has over 30 years’ experience in helping practitioners and organisations improve the effectiveness of their practice, and a long-term interest in adult capacity building in parenting support contexts. He has led the development of practice frameworks for a range of family service, early intervention and early childhood education organisations in Australia, and is currently collaborating with the Child Development Department KKH Hospital in Singapore on a practice framework for working with families with relevance across the hospital.

    Mr Warren is also a founding Director of the and is an honorary professor at the School of Psychology, Faculty of Health at Deakin University. Warren is frequently called upon by government and non-government organisations for advice on evidence-based practice in parenting support, and is an experienced trainer, speaker and media spokesperson.

  • Dr Dorcas Yap
    Dr Dorcas Yap
    Senior Psychologist, Department of Child Development, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital

    Dorcas Yap, PhD, is a Psychologist (Singapore registered) at the Department of Child Development, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, where she is a Trainer, Facilitator and Coach for the Signposts programme for Building Better Behaviour, developed by the Parenting Research Centre, Australia. Dr Yap has close to ten years of working experience as a psychologist in Singapore, conducting psycho-educational and diagnostic assessments for children aged 2 to 16 years. She received her BSc(Hons) Psychology at the University of Sheffield, before completing her Masters in Applied Developmental Psychology at the University of Western Australia. She recently completed her Joint Doctorate in Special Education at the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University. Her research and clinical interests are in the areas of literacy and reading development, dyslexia and other specific learning disorders, early childhood and early intervention. Dr Yap and her team have published two papers on the research done on conducting the Signposts programme in Singapore.

  • Ms Vivienne Ng
    Ms Vivienne Ng
    Chief Psychologist, Ministry of Social and Family Development

    Vivienne is Chief Psychologist at the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and Director of the Office of the Chief Psychologist (OCP). A clinical psychologist by training, she oversees psychological services within MSF and the Social Service sector, in areas such as disability; parenting, marriage and divorce; vulnerable families and early childhood, gambling etc. OCP is also involved in research, programme implementation and evaluation, and the development and validation of assessment frameworks. Before 2013, she headed the Clinical and Forensic Psychology services within the Rehabilitation and Protection Group (RPG) at MSF, which provides trauma treatment and offender rehabilitation.

    A Colombo Plan scholar awarded through the Public Service Commission, Vivienne worked for 9 years at the Institute of Mental Health & Woodbridge Hospital before joining MSF in 2000. During this period, she received a year’s specialist training in the United States in trauma psychology, in the areas of disaster management and treatment of sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. A member of National CARE Management System and Head CARE/MSF, she is activated and deployed during civil emergencies/disasters affecting Singaporeans. Her interests are in trauma, disaster management, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual abuse, fostering, parenting and co-parenting, anxiety and mood disorders.

  • Dr Quah Saw Han
    Dr Quah Saw Han
    Director/The Affinity People Pte Ltd; Member of MSF’s Advisory Panel on Parenting (APOP)

    Quah Saw Han is a Clinical Psychologist holding a Master of Applied Psychology (Clinical) degree from Murdoch University and PhD (Psychology) from the National University of Singapore. For the past 20 years, Saw Han has worked with children, young persons and their parents in relation to child protection, juvenile crime and family issues. Prior to private practice, Saw Han worked as a Principal Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Director at the Ministry of Social and Family Development. She has a wide range of interests: parenting, disabilities, child development and protection, mental health (especially trauma, resilience and children of mentally ill parents), family therapy, programme implementation and evaluation, research, learning and behaviour, and issues related to burnout.

    Saw Han is a certified trainer for the following: Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS), Child Abuse Reporting Guide (CARG), and Family and Adult Support Tool (FAST). She also regularly conducts workshops on Child Protection Awareness and other topics related to providing trauma informed care and support for the child welfare population.

  • Ms Anne Hollonds
    Ms Anne Hollonds
    Director/Australian Institute of Family Studies

    As Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies (, Anne is responsible for conducting research and providing advice to Australian governments. The Institute conducts quantitative and qualitative research, and translates findings, to improve the effectiveness of policy, systems and services for children and families. The Institute is known for its longitudinal studies, data linkage, primary research, policy and program evaluation, and knowledge translation for policy-makers and service providers.

    A leading voice on child and family wellbeing, Anne is a psychologist and former CEO of large NGO’s, with over 30 years’ experience in policy and practice in social services, health and education for children and families.

  • Professor Cynthia Leung
    Professor Cynthia Leung
    Professor, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

    Professor Cynthia Leung is an educational psychologist. She is currently Professor and Psychology Panel Chair at the Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and the program leader of the Master of Educational and Child Psychology program in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She is currently the Vice President of The Hong Kong Psychological Society and was the Chairperson of Division of Educational Psychology, The Hong Kong Psychological Society from 2011 to 2013.

    Professor Leung was awarded the Medal of Honour by the Hong Kong Government in July 2019 in recognition of her contribution to special education. Her research includes parenting education, test development, program evaluation, cross-cultural psychology, migrant adjustment, child and adolescent well-being, and she has published extensively in these areas.

  • A/P Esther Goh
    A/P Esther Goh
    Head, Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore

    A/P Esther Goh is the Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore. Her research centres on championing the need to utilize a more dynamic theory to examine childrearing and parent-child relationships. She adopts a bilateral lens that conceptualizes both children and parents, and between adult children and aging parents, as agentic beings influencing each other. Together with her students, Esther has empirically illustrated children and young persons, even though living in vulnerable conditions as capable agents who contribute to solutions of problems.

  • A/P Thang Leng Leng
    A/P Thang Leng Leng
    Head, Department of Japanese Studies, National University of Singapore; MSF Research Advisor

    Dr Thang Leng Leng is a socio-cultural anthropologist, graduated with PhD Anthropolgy from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include ageing, intergenerational approaches and relationships, family and gender. She specializes on Japanese society and also works on Singapore and other Asian societies. She publishes widely in her areas of research and is known for her works relating to intergenerational approaches and aging. She is co-editor in chief of the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships (Taylor and Francis, USA) and vice chair of International Consortium for Intergenerational Relationships. She is currently associate professor and head of the Department of Japanese Studies, as well as co-Director of the Next Age Institute, National University of Singapore. She is also active in community services, serving as the President of management board of Fei Yue Family Service Centre, among others.