1. The Alliance for Action to Strengthen Marriages and Family Relationships (AFAM) launched the Celebrating SG Families Pledge today, as part of the Year of Celebrating SG Families (YCF) movement recently announced by the Ministry of Social and Family Development. The Pledge aims to help crystallise thoughts on how families can be a strong anchor point for Singaporeans when individuals meet challenges and also encourages Singaporeans to think about how each and every one of us can contribute towards strengthening family relationships. The values highlighted in the pledge aim to be starting points and basic building blocks for Singaporeans to consider how we can all contribute towards strengthening family relationships and also acknowledges that families can face challenges. Singaporeans can choose all or some of the points to commit to and also share other areas they feel can help contribute to strong family relations.
2. The Celebrating SG Families Pledge allows Singaporeans to commit to simple acts that can strengthen family relationships as follows:
|I PLEDGE and COMMIT to strengthen my family bonds by:
- Listening to one another;
- Making time for one another;
- Showing love, care and concern for one another;
- Respecting one another, especially when resolving our differences;
- Appreciating and affirming our family members,
- Supporting one another through good and bad times.
They can make their Pledge online via: https://go.gov.sg/CelebratingSGFamilies
3. The Pledge is one of the many updated initiatives and activities by AFAM. They include:
a. Focal Area (FA) 1: FAM Connections
FAM Connections has been actively engaging stakeholders across the people and private sector to promote the adoption of family-friendly practices. Through the Families for Life movement, FAM connections works with partners and various organic groups on the ground to promote family-friendly practices. Partners include self-help groups such as CDAC, MENDAKI, SINDA, organisations such as NTUC U Women and Family and other trade associations which look at family-friendly work practices and also organic groups such as Centre for Fathering, Mums for Life etc.
b. Focal Area 2: Support for Young Couples
In a bid to promote marriage preparation and enrichment, FA2: Support for Young Couples is working with Registry of Marriages (ROM) to enhance the marriage journey in Singapore, by leveraging ROM’s online system Our Marriage Journey (OMJ) to promote participation in marriage preparation. As part of this effort, FA2 is organising the first Community of Practice for licensed solemnisers under the Journey With You (JOY) initiative, to share best tips and experiences on how to befriend and mentor newly-weds in their first year of marriage. FA2 also works closely with FA6: Faith and Families as religious groups can play an active role in working with young couples to strengthen marriages. FA2 also partners fertility health interest groups to promote fertility health conversations and guide young couples in family planning through health webinars.
c. Focal Area 3: Parenting Together
FA3: Parenting Together is working together with MOE and other community partners to put together just-in-time tips and topics as well as bite-sized parenting information to help parents and grandparents cope with key transitions and milestones. An example of an initiative that Parenting Together has put together is specially curated FB Live sessions with Minister of State for Social and Family Development and Education, Ms Sun Xueling and Parenting Together community partners until end 2022. FA3 also engages schools’ parents support groups to promote adoption of evidence-based parenting programmes.
d. Focal Area 4: Support for Single Parents
FA4: Support for Single Parents has conducted a series of focus group discussions (FGDs) with single parents. A session in Nov 2021 focused on the challenges faced by Single Unwed Mothers to understand their pain points and support needed and the need for child-minding services. Arising from this, the FA is now working with community groups to:
- Develop the Single Parents INformed, Involved, and Included (SPIN) portal into a one-stop portal for information and support relating to single unwed parents with HCSA.
- Prototype provision of child-minding services in selected wards with various community groups.
- Feature single parents and their resilience in the media, to reduce social stigma faced by them.
There was also another FGD with Single Fathers (Divorced, widowed) on 23 April 2022 to understand their pain points and support needed.
e. Focal Area 5: Support for Families with Early Risks
FA5: Support for Families with Early Risks has begun development of materials promoting respectful relationships within families to prevent and guard against family violence, as well as putting together resources to better support families with incarcerated members. In addition, FA5 is supporting the Maintenance of Parents Act (MPA) work group in the conduct of FGDs involving 200 citizens as part of the review of the MPA.
f. Focal Area 6: Faith and Families
FA6: Faith and Families has engaged the major religious organisations across the various religious groups in Singapore to promote adoption of parenting and marriage preparation courses. FA 6 Faith and Families is also a platform where religious organizations can come together to share about their best practices in family programmes and this platform has been useful for cross learning and encouraging religious organisations to be an additional support structure for families desiring to develop stronger bonds.
4. Ms Sun said, “All of us have a part to play in nurturing strong, resilient families. AFAM recognises that families can face challenges. Sometimes, it can be due to external triggers that derail a family’s ability to continue to function healthily and happily on its own. Other times, it can be due to a breakdown of family relations among family members which manifests itself into downstream issues such as divorce, education outcomes of children and family violence. The AFAM aims to play two key roles in the family space. Firstly, as a community galvaniser, to engage various stakeholders on key issues impacting families to hear their concerns, the challenges they face and the vision they have for families in Singapore. Secondly, to serve as a community enabler bringing together community partners to co-create solutions with the Government. We have many ongoing workstreams and engagements with community partners, groups and corporates and are working hand in hand with them to strengthen familial bonds for all Singaporeans.”
5. The AFAM organised an engagement session with religious leaders and organisations on 25 April 2022.
About the Alliance for Action to Strengthen Marriages and Family Relationships (AFAM)
The Alliance for Action (AFAM) to Strengthen Marriages and Families Relationships was launched by Minister of State Sun Xueling on 4 August 2021, and brings together stakeholders, community partners and Singaporeans together to co-create solutions and implement them to strengthen marriages and families. It has a bias for action and has started off with six focal areas (FAs). Since set up, AFAM has galvanised key stakeholders across the community, such as social sector agencies, corporates, citizens and religious organisations, to come together and explore how better to support marriages and family relationships in the following ways:
The AFAM has mobilised and engaged almost 300 people over key social issues such as the Maintenance of Parent Act (MPA), single unwed mums, single fathers and fertility groups amongst others to look at how better to strengthen familial bonds across all family types.
Enabler for co-creating solutions
The AFAM has been looking into Government processes and community initiatives, such as marriage processes (Our Marriage Journey), SPIN, child minding pilots to support single parents, as well as how better to promote evidence-based marriage preparation, enrichment and parenting programmes. It has also been involved in co-creating the solutions with the Workgroup for the Review of MPA helmed by Mr Seah Kian Peng.
The AFAM has a bias for action and has started off with six focal areas (FAs):
|Focal Areas (FAs)
|FA1: FAM Connections
- Raise awareness and expand effectiveness and outreach of programmes that support marriages and families by partnering grassroots, corporates, community organisations and individuals.
|FA2: Support for young couples
- Raise awareness and adoption of MSF’s marriage preparation and enrichment programmes. Raise awareness and expand effectiveness and outreach of programmes that support marriages and families by partnering grassroots, corporates, community organisations and individuals.
- Engage couples on intimate topics like fertility health.
|FA3: Parenting Together
- Identify key trends and challenges faced in parent-child and grandparent-grandchild relationships.
- Shape parenting values to prioritise the social and emotional well-being of children through experts-sharing sessions.
- Raise awareness among parents of the availability of evidence-based parenting programmes and community resources.
|FA4: Support for Single Parents
- Partner the community and support ground-up initiatives to enable single parents to work, care for and raise their families.
- Review the gaps in current social support services for single parents and strengthen the support rendered.
|FA5: Support for Families with Early Risks
- Collaborate with stakeholders and engage the community to strengthen support for families showing early signs of stress.
- Increase awareness on building healthy and respectful relationships.
|FA6: Faith and Families
||Organise cross-sharing of experiences by religious organisations on their efforts to strengthen marriages and families and highlight learning points from each other.
Reverend Terry Kee
Jurong Christian Church (one of the Church of Lutheran Church in Singapore)
“Family is the cornerstone of our society. Families today are facing challenges. The Christian community is committed to do whatever we can to strengthen families.”
Mr Malminderjit Singh
Chairman, Sikh Advisory Board
“The Year of Celebrating SG Families is an important national initiative and not only complements what the faith groups already do but also provides the momentum and opportunity for us to do more in strengthening families and marriages. The Sikh Advisory Board is committed to using this opportunity to catalyse stronger families and marriages in the Sikh community here and we have established a team to identify and study the challenges and gaps and recommend ways to address them.”
Master Benjamin Tan
Special Committee Member, Taoist Federation (Singapore)
“Peace and love within families are vital in achieving a harmonious and inclusive community. The Taoist community is committed to do our part in supporting efforts that strengthen families.”
Ustaz Ahmad Khushairi Bin Abidin
Head, Youth & Family Development,
Darul Ghufran Mosque
“Marriage is the starting point for every couple to achieve bigger and deeper things about their life together. It is important for religious leaders like us to guide and befriend them in strengthening their families by providing support such as mentoring, counselling, programmes or resources available in the community such as Families for Life resources that we can tap.”
Annex B: Translated Terms (71kb)