- Year of Celebrating SG Families (YCF) will kick off with the FamilyTrees initiative
- Highlights include celebratory events, roll out of family values resources, regional conference, and Celebrating SG Families Plan
- National Family Week will be held from 4 to 12 June 2022
- Families for Life @ Community (FFLC) will be rolled out to more regions from 2022
- Strengthening Families Programme@Family Service Centre (FAM@FSC) will be scaled up to 10 FAM@FSC centres, up from five today, by end 2022
Strong families are the bedrock of our society - they are crucial in developing resilient individuals and building up a caring society. Even as household structures shift, families remain a strong pillar of support for Singaporeans, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Against this backdrop, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has dedicated 2022 as the Year of Celebrating SG Families (YCF).
2 Led by the Families for Life (FFL) Council with support from the Alliance for Action to Strengthen Marriages and Family Relationships (AFAM), the YCF is a whole-of-society movement which celebrates the importance of our families. Throughout the year, the movement will see collaborations involving government agencies, corporates (such as Gardens by the Bay), community partners (such as Centre for Fathering, CDAC, Muis, MENDAKI, MESRA and SINDA) and individuals.
3 Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli said “Families play an important role in our lives, and this was evident during the pandemic when families rallied to overcome the challenges that came their way. With strong support from our families, each of us is empowered to pursue our aspirations. We want to journey alongside families – to strengthen family bonds; and for all of us to collectively prioritise our family. The Year of Celebrating SG Families is a whole-of-society movement, and we encourage the people, public and private sectors to join us in celebrating families and nurturing a family-friendly ecosystem.”
Celebrating SG Families and spotlighting our family values
4 YCF will kick off on 12 March 2022, with the launch of the FamilyTrees initiative – a collaboration between NParks and the FFL to celebrate our strong, inter-generational family bonds. The event will see parents commemorating the birth of their baby by planting a tree, which will serve as a reminder of the role that families play in our lives through the seasons. This will be an ongoing initiative for every baby, even after YCF.
5 YCF will also see the introduction of a National Family Week (NFW) in the month of June (4-12 June 2022), an annual event to celebrate and reiterate the importance of family bonding. The FFL and its partners will be curating an exciting line-up of events and promotions to bring families together for a week-long celebration. Featuring a family carnival with fun-filled activities and performances, families can look to sign up for evidence-based marriage, parenting programmes and interactive parent-child workshops. The NFW will also see the launch of FFL’s family values resources and its new mascot, Becky Bunny, which embodies the core family values of love, care and concern, commitment and respect. These resources will be progressively rolled out in the community through visits by Becky Bunny to community events and through various FFL collaterals. YCF will also see the launch of a new family zone at Gardens by the Bay in the later part of 2022.
6Come November 2022, MSF, together with the Social Work Department of the National University of Singapore and the Consortium of Institutes on Family in the Asian Region (CIFA), will co-host the CIFA Regional Symposium & MSF Asian Family Conference 2022. Riding on the theme of “Empowering Asian Families Embracing Challenges & Building a Better Future”, the Conference aims to bring together policymakers, practitioners and academics from Asia to discuss emerging trends, policies and practices in supporting and strengthening Asian families.
7 Through YCF, we encourage everyone to build positive relationships with immediate and extended families by putting the family values in action. Families can look forward to a slew of family-friendly events and programmes, as well as a curated playlist of family-themed videos produced by the private and public sector over the years, which showcase the importance of our families as a source of strength and support in our lives. FFL’s other annual mainstays include My Family Weekend and Celebrating Our Grands, and special occasions such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
8 “Our family is important because it is our haven to rely on in time of need. For many of us, it is our family we turn to first for help when faced with setbacks. Everyone plays a part in recognising the value of families. I hope the movement will encourage individuals to take personal responsibility to nurture and build strong and vibrant family bonds. I welcome all, including corporates and community partners, to join in this celebration. In addition, as the Champion of the AFAM’s Focal Area 1 FAM Connections, I look forward to forging synergies between the efforts under the AFAM and YCF to better support our families,” said Mr Ishak Ismail, Chairman of the Families for Life (FFL) Council.
Strengthening the family-friendly ecosystem
9 YCF builds upon existing efforts by MSF to support all families across their life journey through various marriage and parenting programmes, as well as upstream intervention for families who are facing challenges. YCF will see continued holistic efforts, via FFL and our partners, to build a strong ecosystem that is supportive of families – from families requiring help to meet their basic needs, to provide a good start for their children or care for their family members, to those who desire to improve their family relationships. The AFAM will complement those efforts through its six focal areas and involve corporate, community and philanthropic partners. It will increase awareness and adoption of family-friendly practices, enhance upstream support for newly-weds and parents of young children, work with community partners to develop initiatives for single parents and vulnerable families, and work with religious organisations.
10 To strengthen support for marriages, MSF piloted the Journey with You (JOY) initiative in December 2021. MSF will also continue to work with our partner agencies and couples such as through the Registry of Muslim Marriages’ Bersamamu Programme. Both programmes bring marriage solemnisers across civil and Muslim marriages, respectively, to walk alongside newly-wed couples and mentor them in adjusting to this major transition in life. Please refer to Annex A for more information on these initiatives.
11 MSF will support FFL to make marriage, parenting and grandparenting programmes more accessible in the community; and facilitate the formation of locale-based parents’ support groups. These offerings, branded as the Families for Life @ Community (or FFLC), were piloted in Choa Chu Kang and Nee Soon Central towns in 2021 and over 2,000 families participated. FFLC will progressively be expanded to more towns.
12 MSF will also provide upstream intervention and support via the Strengthening Families Programme@Family Service Centre (or FAM@FSC). FAM@FSCs provide a safe and confidential space for families facing relationship problems to reach out for professional help, and build resilience in families. MSF will increase the number of FAM@FSC centres to 10, up from five today, by end 2022. Please refer to Annex A for more information on these initiatives.
13 Under the auspices of YCF, MSF will also engage with the public and stakeholders via the AFAM members’ network and their partners, to explore how we can strengthen families together as a society. This will culminate in the Celebrating SG Families Plan, which will set out our society’s commitment and support for families.
1MSF’s 2019 Social Attitudes of Singaporeans (SAS) show that 93% of Singaporeans aged 15 years old and above reported that they have close - knit families. The majority also reported that they would provide emotional (97%), physical (97%) and financial (92%) support if their family members needed it.
2The Alliance for Action to Strengthen Marriages and Families Relationships (AFAM) was launched by Minister of State Sun Xueling on 4 August 2021, and brings together stakeholders, community partners and Singaporeans together to co create solutions and implement them to strengthen marriages and families. Please refer to Annex B for more information on AFAM
3Refer to Annex B for details on the AFAM’s Focal Area 1 FAM Connections
4FAM@FSC was launched on 9 November 2021
ANNEX A ABOUT FAMILIES FOR LIFE
The Families for Life (FFL) Movement aims to build strong and resilient families. The FFL Movement rallies like-minded individuals, families and organisations to strengthen family bonds through large-scale events, national celebrations and online
FFL365 offers a suite of complementary evidence-based parenting and marriage programmes while FFL Parenting is an online repository of localised, research-backed parenting resources. FFL also runs Parent Support Groups, particularly for those with preschool children. FFL@Community brings all these offerings to local communities.
Visit Families for Life website for tips, resources and interesting family activities as well as a wide range of meaningful volunteering opportunities as FFL volunteers.
About Strengthening Families Programme@Family Service Centre (or FAM@FSC).
FAM@FSC brings together existing marriage and divorce support programmes and services, and introduces a new family counselling service for family relationship issues including marital, financial, parent-child issues, and ageing and extended families. Please visit FAM@FSC for more information.
Bersamamu enables Muslim marriage solemnisers to journey alongside soon-to-be wed and newly married Muslim couples during their first two years of marriage, to inspire strong and stable Muslim marriages. Bersamamu celebrates its third anniversary this year. For more information on Bersamamu, please visit the marriage website.
About Journey with You (JOY)
JOY was piloted in December 2021 with 20 selected Licensed Solemnisers. Through JOY, MSF intends to create a Community of Practice for Licensed Solemnisers to share best practices while mentoring newlyweds in the first year of marriage.
ANNEX B ABOUT AFAM - ALLIANCE FOR ACTION TO STRENGTHEN MARRIAGES AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
AFAM - The Alliance for Action to Strengthen Marriages and Families Relationships was launched by Minister of State Sun Xueling on 4 August 2021, and brings together stakeholders, community partners and Singaporeans together to co-create solutions
and implement them to strengthen marriages and families.
The AFAM has a bias for action and has started off with six focal areas (FAs)
Focal Areas (FAs)
|FA1 FAM Connections
1. Raise awareness and expand effectiveness and outreach of programmes that support marriages and families by partnering grassroots, corporates, community organisations and individuals.
|FA2 Support for young couples
1. Raise awareness and adoption of MSF’s marriage preparation and enrichment programmes. Raise awareness and expand effectiveness and outreach of programmes that support marriages and families by partnering grassroots, corporates, community organisations and individuals.
2. Engage couples on intimate topics like fertility health.
|FA3 Parenting Together
1. Identify key trends and challenges faced in parent-child and grandparent-grandchild relationships.
2. Shape parenting values to prioritise the social and emotional well-being of children through experts-sharing sessions.
3. Raise awareness among parents of the availability of evidence-based parenting programmes and community resources.
|FA4 Support for Single Parents
1. Partner the community and support ground-up initiatives to enable single parents to work, care for and raise their families.
2. Review the gaps in current social support services for single parents and strengthen the support rendered.
|FA5 Support for Families with Early Risks
1. Collaborate with stakeholders and engage the community to strengthen support for families showing early signs of stress.
2. Increase awareness on building healthy and respectful relationships.
3. Provide support for families going through challenging life transitions (e.g. incarceration) and/or with strained relationships (e.g. family violence)
4. Work with the Workgroup for the Review of the Maintenance of Parents Act, to co-create recommendations to better meet the needs of vulnerable elderly and community.
|FA6 Faith and Families
1. Organise cross sharing of experiences by religious organisations on their efforts to strengthen marriages and families and highlight learning points from each other.
The six focal areas can be reviewed over time, sunsetting once they have completed their key plans while allowing new areas to be added as necessary. In this way, the AFAM is geared to evolve organically, responding to different needs in response to pertinent marriage and family issues over time.