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Singapore Government

Addendum to the President's Address

Addendum to the President's Address

Singapore’s social services will need to evolve in the coming years to meet the challenges of ageing demographics, changing family structures and rising public expectations. To provide greater support and assurance for Singaporeans and their families, MSF will focus on building integrated social service system, developing new services for the future and expanding capacity and deepening capability in the sector.

Integrated Social Service System 

MSF will play a stronger role in harnessing the contributions and capabilities of different partners – community groups, Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) and government agencies - to build an integrated social service system that serves the social needs of Singaporeans. We will strengthen linkages among different social service providers to improve last mile delivery. This will include mobilizing the community to develop local solutions, building up the network of Social Service Offices to deliver social assistance and conduct local service planning, and coordinating with Family Service Centres and other agencies to provide a range of specialist social service interventions. We will also strengthen coordination across government agencies to deliver integrated social services to citizens. 

The Ministry will complete the network of Social Service Offices across the island by end 2015 to bring social assistance closer to residents. We will develop and progressively rollout the Social Service Net - an integrated information sharing and case management system across various social service providers. This will enable citizens to receive more timely and seamless assistance and facilitate the planning of social services to meet emerging social needs.

New Family and Social Services for the Future 

MSF will proactively shape family and social services to keep pace with emerging needs and trends. We will strengthen our service and legal frameworks to better protect and care for vulnerable members among our growing elderly population and Singaporeans with special needs. This will include distinct roles for different stakeholders - community and grassroots in detecting needs and providing neighbourly support, VWOs in providing caregiver support and social work intervention and possibly legislations to intervene early in cases of abuse and neglect.

We will also strengthen services to better protect other vulnerable groups in our society. These include having more options to support children who require care and protection, as well as raising the standards of facilities for persons who need residential care. We will develop more early intervention measures for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and provide better support for families with multiple needs. For example, we will work towards supporting these families and raise developmental prospects for their children through a whole-of-government approach via better coordination and integration. For persons with disabilities, we will expand capacities in early intervention programmes and post-school care. We will also improve work and transport options, and long-term financial assurance.

The family remains the basic building block of our society. Under the Family Matters! initiative, MSF will work with our partners to ensure Singapore remains a great home for families. To support parents in dual income families with limited caregiving support, MSF will improve the accessibility and affordability of preschool services. The Early Childhood Development Agency will implement a common regulatory framework in childcare centres and kindergartens and undertake developmental initiatives to raise the quality of preschool services.

MSF will work with community partners to strengthen marriages and preserve the family unit. We will also introduce support programmes for couples considering or undergoing divorce, and ensure that the affected children’s needs and concerns are given due consideration. 

Expanding Capacity and Deepening Capability 

Much of the task of providing family and social services is shouldered by the social service sector and its dedicated professionals. MSF will help the sector expand capacity and raise capability to deliver effective and coordinated services. We will invest in manpower development and organisational capability building of social service agencies. We will promote the wider use of technology to improve productivity and service delivery. We will also extend more funding and support to voluntary welfare organisations to improve their human resource and volunteer management.

We will need to strengthen professional development among our social service practitioners and provide them with fulfilling career prospects. We will achieve this by extending career and professional development opportunities to social workers, therapists, psychologists, counsellors, early intervention teachers and family life educators. We will also provide principals, teachers and edu-carers in pre-schools with better professional development and more rewarding careers. Together with the National Council of Social Service, we will intensify efforts to groom the next generation of social service leaders who have the breadth and depth of experience to lead the sector for tomorrow’s challenges.

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