MSF initiated a pilot in March 2015 with the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled in Singapore (MINDS) to simplify the process to apply for deputyship for young adults with severe intellectual disability.
The pilot, supported by the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (NUS Law), involved 10 MINDS students from its current graduating cohort (aged 18) whose parents were seeking to be appointed as deputies for their children.
To reduce the cost of application, students from NUS Law, psychologists and social workers from MINDS school and HQ helped these parents to complete the Court documents and provide the necessary supporting documents. This led to significant time and cost savings - each pair of parents paid an average of $250 for their application as compared to what may otherwise cost about $5000. The application also becomes less time-consuming as parents can now work off basic document guides or template forms for their applications.
MSF is also working actively with the Family Justice Courts to simplify the process of deputyship applications in general. Thus far, the Courts have provided standard templates for key documents such as medical reports and affidavits, so that individuals can fill them in more easily on their own.
For more information, read the Straits Times article "Just $250 to seek deputy powers" and our Frequently Asked Questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can my child who is a current student of MINDS (but not graduating this year) benefit from the simplified process?
The simplified process will be extended to benefit more MINDS students. Your child will be able to benefit from the initiative in the year he graduates. For now, if you are the legal guardian of your child, you are still able to make decisions on his or her behalf until he/she turns 21 years old.
2. Can my child who is part of the graduating cohort of MINDS benefit from the simplified process?
For the current pilot, MINDS has selected students with straightforward applications – i.e. the family relationships are stable and both parents were supportive of the arrangements. The simplified process will be extended to the rest of the graduating cohort in MINDS with straightforward applications.
3. Can my child who has already graduated from MINDS benefit from the simplified process?
The pilot project is currently offered to current graduating students of MINDS, as they are still in school and their mental capacity can be assessed as part of routine evaluations.
MSF is also working with the Courts to ease the process of deputyship applications to benefit individuals with severe ID who have left the school, such as through simplifying the forms and rules.
4. Will this initiative be extended to children in other special education (SPED) schools? If so, when will this happen?
MSF is exploring if similar projects to simplify the deputyship application processes could be extended to other SPED schools. However, as the pilot has not concluded, it is still early days to determine how the initiative can be extended.
5. Can my relative or friend who is mentally incapacitated / unwell / disabled join the pilot?
The pilot project caters specifically to current graduating students of MINDS SPED schools who were born with severe intellectual disability. If you require assistance with deputyship applications for your relative or friend, you may wish to engage a lawyer or approach the Legal Aid Bureau. For general advice on deputyship matters, you may wish to approach the Law Society’s Community Legal Clinics or one of the other free legal clinics in Singapore. More information on the free legal clinics is available at the website of the Law Society’s Pro Bono Services Office: http://probono.lawsociety.org.sg.