Reply on managing cases of children with special needs from dysfunctional families
5 February 2018
Mr Murali Pillai
MP for Bukit Batok SMC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether his Ministry will designate a lead agency to manage complex cases of children with special needs from dysfunctional families who present serious behavioural issues impacting on them, their family members and their neighbourhood.
Families may find it challenging to cope with behavioural issues in their children with special needs, especially when the parents are not equipped with the knowledge to support them. This is compounded when these families face other stressors, such as financial and marital problems.
2 Supporting these families with complex needs requires multi-agency collaboration, that would include schools, disability agencies and other community partners. Family Service Centres, as key case management agencies in the community, take the lead in ensuring that each agency plays their part to provide timely and holistic support for these families. For complex cases, the SSOs can help marshal these partners to develop a plan of action together and facilitate information sharing, to address the needs of the family and the child effectively.
3 Children with special needs attending early intervention services such as the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC), Development Support (DS) Programme and Special Education (SPED) schools, have social workers and psychologists in these programmes who also provide support to caregivers in addition to rendering intervention and educational services to the children. These programmes also have peer support groups to assist caregivers who are facing challenges with their children with special needs. Caregivers can also enhance their care skills through appropriate training that is offered by our disability service providers. These training are made affordable for caregivers with the support of the Caregivers’ Training Grant available through the Agency for Integrated Care.
4 In addition to this network of support, caregivers of persons with disabilities can contact SG Enable, who will connect them to relevant services. Caregivers are a key focus under the Third Enabling Masterplan, and the Government is working with social service providers to enhance the ecosystem of support for caregivers in enabling their well-being.
5 Complex and deep-seated issues require changes in parents’ mindsets, and managing of their emotions, for them to take ownership and be a partner in the interventions. MSF will continue to study ways of improving social service coordination and delivery across the government, people and private sectors. It will take a concerted effort by all parties involved to intervene, and journey with the families for a period of time to make progress.