Families in Singapore are evolving. While the dominant household structure is still the nuclear family, which is the typical two-generation family with a married couple living with their children or their parents, the proportion of these families has fallen over the years. Other household structures are emerging. There is a significant increase in the proportion of one-person households and households headed by a married couple who are childless or are not living with their children.
These were some trends discussed at the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s (MSF) Social Service Partners Conference. Themed “Supporting Families Together”, this year’s Conference provides a platform for social service professionals, Voluntary Welfare Organisations, academics and policymakers to discuss emerging family trends and ways to strengthen support for families through policies and programmes.
Speaking at the conference, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said, “Families form the foundation of a strong nation. Having a better understanding of emerging trends affecting families, such as changing family structures, greater family pressures and a growing number of families facing unique and complex issues, will help us as a Government and community to better support families. Ultimately, these efforts would not be impactful without each of us putting in the effort to make conscious choices to do better for our families. As parents, we cannot under-estimate the importance of being good role models and imparting sound values to our children. It is heartening that family ties and values remain strong in Singapore. I am thus confident that with a better understanding of emerging trends, we can work together to tackle the challenges ahead at the individual, family, community and policy levels.”
Claire Nazar, Families for Life Council member and panel moderator at the SSPC said, “The views from the many social service partners, academics, researchers and VWO representatives gathered here today are useful in enabling everyone to have a panoramic view of each sector’s role in strengthening families, and thus see how we can each do more and work together to be future-ready for the challenges ahead.”
Annex A: Factsheet on Social Service Partners Conference 2015
- The Social Service Partners Conference was first organised in 2014 to bring together partners in the social service sector and strengthen the Government’s partnerships with them.
- Themed “Supporting Families Together”, the 2015 conference aims to raise awareness amongst community practitioners in the social service sector, Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) representatives, academics and researchers as well as policymakers on the changing family landscape and needs. It provides a common platform for participants to learn, share and discuss ways to strengthen support for families through policies and programmes.
The programme of the conference was as follows:
|8.30am - 12.00pm
||Opening Address by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development
“Overview of Singapore Families” by Dr Mathew Mathews
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Policy Studies, National University of Singapore
Plenary Discussion and Q&A
- Minister Tan Chuan-Jin
- Mrs Claire Nazar, Member, Families for Life Council (Moderator)
- Prof Yeung Wei-Jun Jean, Director, Centre for Family and Population Research and Professor, Department of Sociology and the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
- A/P Paulin Straughan, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore
- Dr Mary Ann Tsao, Member, National Council of Social Service Board and Chairman, Tsao Foundation
- Ms Fazlinda Faroo, Centre Manager, PPIS Vista Sakinah
|1.30pm - 5.00pm
||Breakout Discussion Tracks
Emerging family trends
Supporting cross-cultural families
Supporting divorced families
Annex B - Slides accompanying Minister's speech
Annex C - Breakdown and Definitions of Family Household Types