APPOINTMENT OF TWO NEW DIVORCE SUPPORT SPECIALIST AGENCIES EXPANDS THE SUPPORT AVAILABLE TO FAMILIES UNDERGOING DIVORCE
1. The Ministry of Social and Family Development has appointed two new Divorce Support Specialist Agencies (DSSAs) – Thrive Parenting! and Healing Hearts @ Fei Yue – to better support families undergoing divorce with specialised services and programmes. The two agencies started operations on 1 August 2019.
2. The first four DSSAs were appointed in 2015. They are (a) Care Corner Centre for Co-Parenting; (b) Thye Hua Kwan Centre for Family Harmony; (c) HELP Family Service Centre; and (d) PPIS As-Salaam Family Support Centre. The inclusion of Thrive Parenting! and Healing Hearts @ Fei Yue brings the total number of DSSAs to six (6).
3. Speaking at a dialogue with representatives from the six DSSAs, Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Desmond Lee said, “The breakdown of a family due to divorce can have long-term impact for all involved, especially the children. Since 2015, the DSSAs have helped many couples cope better with their divorce, guiding them to focus on their children’s needs and to co-parent more effectively after divorce. We have therefore appointed two more agencies to make these services more accessible and to provide better support for these families.”
4. The work of the DSSAs complement MSF’s efforts to strengthen marriages, and reduce the chances of them breaking down. These include (a) marriage preparation programmes to help couples learn how to commit to and communicate with each other; (b) marriage enrichment and parenting programmes for the different stages of family life; and (c) marital counselling offered at family service centres and counselling centres.
5. Minister Lee also shared that the Government will review the recommendations of the Committee to Review and Enhance Reforms in the Family Justice System (RERF). The RERF Committee recently submitted their recommendations, with a focus on incorporating therapeutic and restorative justice into family law, especially in divorce, by providing support to couples early and reducing acrimony.
6. The Committee also recommended how to better support families that have to appoint deputies under the Mental Capacity Act, enhance the family justice system and streamline court processes. The Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Law invite members of the public to give their views on the recommendations on the Government e-consultation portal, REACH (www.go.gov.sg/rerf) from 20 September to 1 November 2019.