Families will be better served through a regional, integrated and multi-disciplinary approach
1 The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will be rolling out 10 Strengthening Families Programme @ Family Service Centres (FSCs) that will be established at various locations across Singapore over the next three years.
2 MSF has put in place a continuum of family programmes and services from upstream preventive initiatives to supporting families with early risks to helping those who have complex and multiple issues. The Strengthening Families Programme@FSC initiative is part of this continuum, targeting couples who may face greater challenges and families showing early signs of stress. The Strengthening Families Programme@FSCs will consolidate existing programmes in the areas of marriage and divorce. These include marriage preparation and support for couples in early marriages and transnational marriages, and the programmes offered by the Divorce Support Specialist Agencies. MSF will also introduce a new family counselling service at the Strengthening Families Programme@FSCs to address family relationship and marital issues.
3 The Strengthening Families Programme@FSCs will take a regional, integrated and multi-disciplinary approach to support families in a holistic way:
- Regional: Each Strengthening Families Programme@FSC will be dedicated to one of 10 regions in Singapore to make it more convenient for families to seek help when needed. The Strengthening Families Programme@FSCs will also leverage online platforms to enhance accessibility to services, in the wake of COVID-19.
- Integrated: Within each region, the Strengthening Families Programme@FSCs will work closely with other service providers such as their respective Social Service Office (SSO) and FSC partners to ensure seamless service delivery, tighter referral processes and more holistic assistance to families, especially those with multiple and complex needs.
- Multi-disciplinary: The Strengthening Families Programme@FSCs will also bring together professionals trained in family counselling, financial counselling and psychology to better address families’ needs.
4 The establishment of Strengthening Families Programme@FSCs follows MSF’s successful pilot in 2019, with partners Care Corner Singapore Ltd and Fei Yue Community Services. In the pilot, the two Social Service Agencies (SSAs) delivered marriage, parenting and divorce support services as one programme, and were able to refer clients more seamlessly across the services. “This model enables us to support our clients better as we have central oversight for service integration, practice standards and community outreach. For clients with multiple needs, counsellors across the different services are able to coordinate and spread out the sessions to prevent overwhelming them,” said Ms Marie Yeo, Cluster Head of Strengthening Families Programme@Fei Yue FSC.
Five Strengthening Families Programme@FSCs in 2021
5 In the last quarter of 2021, MSF will scale up the Strengthening Families Programme@FSCs with the planned appointment of three additional SSAs as Strengthening Families Programme@FSCs. The service providers for the remaining five Strengthening Families Programme@FSCs will be appointed from FY2022 onwards. MSF will also work with the Singapore University of Social Science (SUSS) and community partners to support the SSAs in their recruitment, capability building and training needs.
6 Families may also approach MSF’s free online counselling service run by the Community Psychology Hub at www.cphonlinecounselling.sg.
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