Structured support for families and parents of children with severe disabilities
Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development how caregivers such as parents of children with severe disabilities and single parents with little family support may be assisted in a more structured manner and co-ordinated network of many helping hands.
Caregiving for children with disabilities or as a single parent can be demanding and stressful. This is even more so if these are vulnerable families with multiple needs. Over the years, government agencies have worked with voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) to put in place a stronger network of services to help these families and caregivers.
Caregivers may find it a challenge to navigate the various support schemes and services. Families can approach either the FSCs or SSOs for an assessment of their needs and for help to navigate the help system. Family Service Centres (FSCs) will assess, coordinate and integrate the various types of assistance that may be required for these families with multiple needs. The FSC social workers will help families navigate the ‘many helping hands’ system for different forms of assistance.
The addition of the Social Service Offices (SSOs) facilitates greater access to help for the families. Besides providing ComCare assistance for those facing financial difficulties, the SSOs also help to coordinate other forms of assistance for families based on their needs. MSF has recently set up local planning teams at our Social Service Offices to better coordinate the planning and delivery of social services and assistance among the different help agencies in each HDB Town.
For some of these families, there are dedicated agencies that have deeper understanding of the issues faced by caregivers of specific groups. Besides the FSCs, single parent families can also approach the two single-parent services – HELP FSC and PPIS As-Salaam Family Support Centre - for support. Caregivers of children with special needs, could contact SG Enable, who would provide information and referral services for persons with disability.
It is a work in progress, and there is always room to do better. The local planning teams at our Social Service Offices aim to better coordinate the planning and delivery of social services and assistance among the different help agencies in each HDB Town. We will continue to work towards improving our support services and coordination. We also need everyone to work together with us in strengthening the coordination across the sector. This needs time. Nonetheless we will keep working at it so that the families receive timely help and support.