STRONGER PROTECTION FOR CHILDREN FROM Q2 2020 UNDER THE
CHILDREN AND YOUNG PERSONS ACT
1. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will bring the first set of
amendments to the Children and Young Persons Act (CYPA) into effect in Q2 2020.
Parliament had passed the Children and Young Persons (Amendment) Bill in Sep
2019, to strengthen Government and community support for children aged below 18
years, up from below 16 years today.
Key amendments with effect from Q2 2020
(i) Enhanced care and protection for more children
2. MSF and the Courts can currently intervene swiftly to provide care, protection,
supervision and rehabilitation to children below age 16. From Q2 2020, abused or
neglected children aged 16 to below 18 will also be able to receive care and protection
under the CYPA.
3. MSF and partners will extend its services to serve abused or neglected children
aged 16 to below 18 after the amendments take effect.
4. The Courts will also be able to grant Enhanced Care and Protection Orders
(ECPO) to children aged below 18 years. This may occur in instances where the Court
has assessed that the family will not be able to care for the child safely, and the child
has remained in out-of-home care beyond a specified duration. The ECPO will
empower designated caregivers to make day-to-day, as well as more substantive
decisions, such as overseas travel or choice of school, similar to the decisions that parents would make in a normal family setting. This will enable decisions to be made
in a timely manner, and minimise disruptions to the child’s daily routine and well-being.
ECPOs, which can last until a child turns 21 years old, will enable stable out-of-home
care arrangements to be put in place for the child.
5. We are working closely with the Family Justice Courts to implement the ECPO
by Q2 2020. About 100 to 150 children are expected to benefit from the ECPO per
(ii) Foster parents to receive childcare leave benefits
6. When the amendments take effect in Q2 2020, childcare leave benefits will be
extended to foster parents. With the leave benefits, foster parents who work will be
able to utilise the leave to meet their caregiving needs, for example to bring their foster
child to visit a doctor. These changes will benefit over 5301
foster families, and are
part of continued efforts to strengthen support for our foster parents.
(iii) Introduction of Family Guidance Orders
7. ‘Family Guidance Orders’ (FGO) will replace the term ‘Beyond Parental
Control’. This change in terminology makes clear the role of the family, as opposed to
focusing the blame on the child. In addition, families are to complete a family
programme before they decide to file an FGO application. This programme seeks to
improve parent-child relationships that may be strained, and is intended for families
where the child is below 16 years2
(iv) Changes to treatment of youth criminal records.
8. The treatment of criminal records will also change for youths who complete their
Youth Court Orders. To facilitate our youths’ reintegration with society, their criminal
records will be deemed as spent. This allows them to declare ‘no’ if asked whether
they have ever been convicted or have a criminal record.
Amendments to take effect in stages
9. The remaining amendments such as the change in age limit of youth offenders
from below 16 to below 18 years will take effect at a later date, to allow our
stakeholders more time to build up the requisite capacity and capabilities.