6 February 2018
Miss Cheng Li Hui
MP for Tampines GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development regarding the Community Kin Service (a) what safeguards and measures are in place to ensure that seniors' funds do not get misappropriated by social workers; (b) how will the Ministry deal with cases of misappropriation; and (c) whether the Office of the Public Guardian will be able to recommend follow-up actions should misappropriations be suspected or discovered.
1. The Ministry of Social and Family Development is piloting the Community Kin Service, which will enable Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) to better support seniors who have lost the mental capacity to handle their finances and do not have family support, to continue residing in the community.
2. Under the scheme, the VWO can apply for a Court Order to manage a fixed sum of money to meet a senior’s daily care needs. Once appointed by the Court, the VWO will be supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and required to submit periodic reports. Appointed VWOs should have established financial procedures, with clear accountability for staff delivering support and handling the finances of the seniors. OPG will check that the seniors’ monies are used prudently and only for the purposes of meeting their care needs, in accordance with the terms of the Court Order.
3. In addition, the Mental Capacity Act has existing safeguards to protect persons who lack mental capacity. If there is indication that anyone has acted in a way which compromises the person’s best interest, including exploiting the person financially, the Public Guardian will investigate and take appropriate action. Where necessary, the Public Guardian may apply to Court to protect the personal or financial welfare of the person, and refer the case to the Police for further investigation if any criminal conduct is suspected.