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Singapore Government

New Mentoring Programme To Better Support 100 At-Risk Youths Over Two Years

New Mentoring Programme To Better Support 100 At-Risk Youths Over Two Years


Published On
05 Mar 2021

1          The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is piloting a mentoring programme to better support at-risk youths. In addition to sharing life experiences and skills to nurture resilience in youths, the mentors can also provide informal career advice to mentees who are exploring potential career options. This includes sharing insights on youths’ specific industries of interest, and facilitating internships and job placements for youths where possible.

2          MSF will be making a call for mentors across industries to participate in this pilot. The mentoring programme pilot will involve students who leave ITE prematurely. The pilot, involving a target of 100 youths over two years, will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2021. This pilot continues our work in partnering the community to support youths.

Update on Localised Community Network (LCN) pilot

3          In 2019, the Localised Community Network (LCN) was piloted in Boon Lay to provide upstream and coordinated support to school children and youths experiencing challenging issues, exhibiting at-risk behaviour, or with complex family backgrounds. This pilot brought together relevant Government agencies, schools, Social Service Agencies (SSAs), community organisations and volunteers. With systematic inter-agency data-sharing, students in need are identified upstream and their progress is tracked regularly. Agencies tap on established referral and case coordination protocols to provide wraparound support for the students as well as their families. Thus far, the pilot has seen over 70 students and families supported by the network of government and community partners.

Update on Post-Care Support Pilot for Youths Discharged from MSF Youth Homes

4          For smoother transition and better reintegration of youths into the community after their discharge from MSF Youth Homes1, MSF announced in March 2019 that post-care support would be extended from two months to one year, and tiered according to the risks and needs of youths.

5          Extending post-care support helps sustain and reinforce the work done (e.g. skills learnt and habits formed) with youths during their stay in the Homes. It also strengthens the connections that were established with community agencies, while youths resided in the Homes.

6          The extended post care support commenced in the fourth quarter of 2019 with a select group of youths discharged from the Homes. Youths and post-care officers provided useful feedback during this initial phase to refine the support provided. From February 2021, post-care support for one year will be provided to all youths discharged from MSF Youth Homes.

7          MSF will continue to work with appointed SSAs to assign post-care officers to journey with youths in the community and link them to constructive sources of engagement including schools, employment or/and interest groups, so that they can remain meaningfully engaged and develop stable and healthy relationships.

1 Singapore Boys’ Home and Singapore Girls’ Home.

Annex A: Questions and Answers

Annex B: Supplementary Information

Annex C: Translated Terms [110 kb]



Annex A: Questions and Answers

Mentoring Programme Pilot

1.          Why is the pilot targeting students who leave ITE prematurely?

The pilot targets students who leave ITE prematurely as these youths may lack support and guidance after leaving the education system. Some of these youths may also have difficulty deciding what to do next. If not constructively engaged, they may get involved in undesirable activities or risky behaviours. Through the mentoring programme, the mentor will provide support and be a positive role model. The mentor will also help facilitate these youths in exploring their interests and career options, setting them on the path to pursue and achieve their goals.

2.          How does this differ from the various existing mentoring initiatives within the community?

Beyond aiming to guide and instil life skills for at-risk youths, this pilot involves specifically matching mentees with mentors from industries that mentees indicate interest in. Where possible, mentors will also facilitate internships and job placements for mentees.

3.          Are there plans to scale up this pilot subsequently?

We will assess the effectiveness and scalability of the pilot before deciding on next steps.

Update on Localised Community Network (LCN)

 1.          Why was Boon Lay/Jurong West chosen for the Localised Community Network pilot? Do the children/youths in this area have higher needs or risks?

We piloted the Localised Community Network in Boon Lay/Jurong West to leverage on and reap synergies with ongoing pilots and initiatives in the same region. For example, our Community Link (ComLink) in Boon Lay supports families living in rental flats. Having LCN in these areas enables youth and families to benefit from the growing network of community support and coordinated services.

2.          What are the issues or challenges that such at-risk students may face?

Students may be affected by family issues such as parents being absent and/or unable to provide adequate support and supervision, coupled with financial difficulties and family conflict. They may display at-risk behaviours such as chronic absenteeism, anti-social behaviour, low self-esteem or lack of resilience. Through the pilot, we aim to better understand how government agencies and community organisations can best support these students to meet their potential.

3.          How many schools have been involved in this pilot?

Since the pilot started in 2019, four primary and secondary schools have been involved in the LCN pilot.

4.          Are there plans to expand this pilot to other areas?

MSF is studying the findings from this pilot, and will explore if other schools or target groups of children/youths could benefit from this approach.

Update on Post-Care Support Pilot for Youths Discharged from MSF Youth Homes

1.          What are the key issues in the current post-care support that earlier propelled MSF to propose the extension of post-care support?

Some youths had shared that they were lost and did not have a trusted person to seek advice and assistance from after their discharge from MSF Youth Homes. The extension of post-care support from two months to one year better supports these youths by smoothening their transition and strengthening their reintegration into the community. Post-care workers provide guidance to youths on matters such as sustaining their employment or continuing their education.

2.          How were youths selected for the initial phase of extended post-care support?

A mix of residents facing a variety of challenges and who were due to be discharged from the MSF Youth Homes within six months were selected for the pilot.

3.         What are the role differences between the caseworkers from MSF Youth Homes and the post-care officers?

Both caseworkers and post-care officers are important case managers at different stages of the youth’s reintegration with the community. Caseworkers focus on the in-care phase when the youths are residing in MSF Youth Homes. Thereafter, the post-care officers will assume the role of case managers in the community after the youths are discharged from our Homes.

Establishing a strong rapport between youths and post-care officers is critical for effective post-care support. For a smoother transition, post-care officers will start engaging the youths up to six months before they are due to be discharged from the Homes, to build trust and establish an early connection.

4.          Who are the post-care officers and what is their main scope of work?

MSF has partnered SSAs that assign post-care officers to support youths.
Post-care officers play three key roles:

i.          Enabler: Reiterate skills learnt during in-care phase; provide emotional support and affirmation; provide suggestions to resolve issues.
ii.          Resource person and navigator: Identify and link youths and families to services; nudge and encourage youths and families to follow-up with the services; link youths with schools, training and employment opportunities to ensure that they are meaningfully engaged.
iii.          Coordinator: Facilitate information-sharing among key stakeholders (e.g. schools, employers, volunteers) and coordinate support for youths.

5.          How does the youth justice system work?

The youth justice system in Singapore is broadly premised on a gradation of interventions. As far as possible, youth offenders are diverted away from the youth justice system. Where youths are brought before the Youth Court, they are first considered for probation and rehabilitation outside of residential facilities. This is to prevent their development from being unduly disrupted. This means that youths who are required to reside in Places of Detention and Juvenile Rehabilitation Centres generally exhibit higher-risk behaviours, complex needs, or have a weak family environment that does not support rehabilitation in the community.

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Annex B: Supplementary Information

National Committee on Prevention, Rehabilitation and Recidivism

  • The National Committee on Prevention, Rehabilitation and Recidivism (NCPR) was set up on 1 April 2018 to maintain an overview of national efforts to prevent offending and re-offending, and enhance the rehabilitation of offenders.
  • Some part of the NCPR’s scope used to come under the former National Committee on Youth Guidance and Rehabilitation (NYGR), that looked at the prevention of offending and re-offending for at-risk youths aged 12 to 21 years old. However, NCPR has a broadened scope to cover at-risk children and youths (7 to 21 years old), as well as youth/adult offenders, and their families.
  • NCPR comprises representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Social and Family Development, Government Parliamentary Committee, Members of Parliament, Attorney-General’s Chambers, State Courts, Family Justice Courts, Institute of Mental health, National Council Against Drug Abuse, National Council of Social Service, National Crime Prevention Council, National Youth Council and Self-Help Groups.
  • NCPR collaborates with government agencies, community organisations and volunteers to develop and implement an integrated and coordinated approach to address offending and re-offending issues. In doing so, the journey and voices/perspectives of at-risk children and youths, offenders, and their families are considered.
  • Prevention, early intervention, rehabilitation and post support are critical factors to prevent and break cycles of offending. Support is provided beyond at-risk populations and offenders to also cover their families.
  • NCPR continues to develop and enhance the capacity and capability of community organisations to ensure that at-risk populations, offenders, and their families are well-supported.
  • NCPR facilitates data sharing, collaborative research and evaluation to understand emerging trends, risks and needs, and effectiveness of programmes to achieve better outcomes for our target populations.


Youth GO! Programme (YGP)

  • Youth GO! Programme (YGP) is a youth outreach programme that reaches out to youths-at-risk on the streets, to engage and support them. The uniqueness of YGP lies in its strategy to bring services to the local community congregation areas and hotspots where youths are.
  • YGP workers work with local communities and government agencies to proactively engage youths where they are. YGP workers also work with the youths individually on areas of concern. Intervention is delivered within an informal and flexible programme design.
  • YGP reaches out to youths-at-risk between 12 and 21 years old in their natural settings.
  • Care Corner Singapore Ltd has been appointed to run YGP in the North-East District from January 2012. Fei Yue Community Services has been appointed to run YGP in the North-West District from May 2012, and the South-West District and identified hotspots from December 2014.
  • YGP reaches out to around 300 youths each month to engage them in structured activities, which reduces risky behaviours, and improves their relationships and life skills.


MSF Youth Homes

  • MSF manages the Singapore Boys’ Home and Singapore Girls’ Home. They serve as ‘Juvenile Rehabilitation Centres’ for youth offenders, as well as ‘Places of Safety’ for youths under Family Guidance Orders and children and youths under Care and Protection Orders issued by the Youth Court.
  • MSF Youth Homes provide the youths with a structured environment for them to learn, reflect and do better in their lives. Youths are engaged through character development, academic, vocational and rehabilitation programmes. They are supported by youth guidance officers who coach them in personal mastery in areas such as discipline, pro-social values and forming sound habits. Youths are also supported by caseworkers, and psychologists when needed, to restore and strengthen their relationship with their families, as well as work closely with schools and employers to keep the youths meaningfully engaged. Teachers based in MSF Youth Homes also support these youths to build a ready foundation for future studies or employment. This prepares them for eventual return to their families and the community.
  • Previously, upon completion of their Court Orders, youths were provided with post-care support for up to two months. Many youths did not have continued support beyond this period and may have experienced further challenges. To better strengthen transition and reintegration, MSF has lengthened the post-care support from two months to one year.    

 

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