18 May 2018
Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry
MP for Nee Soon GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development what is the Government's overall approach to create a positive learning and personal development environment for children staying at the various children's homes, shelters and other welfare homes.
1 Education is a key pillar of social mobility in Singapore. Our schools provide equal opportunities for all students, regardless of background, to access good quality education. This also applies to children who reside in Homes licensed under the Children and Young Persons Act.
2 MSF aims to minimise disruption to the educational needs of such children, even though circumstances had led them to be separated from their own families. For example, community case managers in the children's homes work with the schools to ensure that the children continue to attend school. At the same time, the social and emotional needs of these vulnerable children are provided for, bearing in mind the difficult backgrounds they come from and the trauma that some of them may have experienced. Equally important is character development, and the need for the children to be connected and integrated in the community.
3 In contrast to the children's homes, shelters and welfare homes serve different target groups. Shelters are intended for adults who have exhausted all other means of accommodation or those who face family violence. Children who reside temporarily in these shelters are accompanied by their family, and the shelters partner the family, schools and the community in providing for the children's needs. Welfare homes do not admit children, and serve only adults who are destitute.