Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap
To ask the Acting Minister for Social and Family Development
(a) does the rise in applications for the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children suggest that there are more Singaporean children born with developmental impairments;
(b) what measures are in place to track children with disabilities who are exempted from formal schooling; and
(c) what measures are in place to monitor and rectify abuses of children with disabilities.
The number of Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) referral increased from 600 in 2007 to about 1,000 in 2011. These referrals come largely from the Child Development Programme (CDP) under MOH, which helps identify and treat children with developmental problems. In recent years, CDP has enhanced its capability and capacity to provide diagnosis at a younger age. There has also been increasing awareness among parents on disabilities and developmental delays. Together, these factors would have contributed to more children seeking early intervention services.
For children with disabilities who are exempted from formal schooling, their parents may enrol them in special education (SPED) schools. When the parents require assistance, MOE will step in to facilitate placement in appropriate SPED schools.
Members of the public can report incidents of suspected abuse to either the Police or to MSF’s Child Protection Services Hotline at 1800-777-0000. In the area of prevention and early intervention, we have public education efforts on child abuse. The National Council of Social Service and its Social Service Training Institute also conduct training for social service agencies to identify signs of abuse, report suspected abuse through the right channels, and to be child-safe organisations.