Mr Christopher de Souza
MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development what support in terms of education and housing are available to young men and women who grow out of residential boys' or girls' homes.
1 Children requiring care, protection or rehabilitation may stay in Licensed Residential Homes operated by social service agencies, or Youth Homes operated by MSF.
2 MSF places a strong emphasis on reintegrating these children with their families. During their stay in the residential facilities, there are programmes to restore the relationship between the parents and children. Residents are also encouraged to keep in contact through parent visits and leave schemes that allow them to return home.
3 Nonetheless, for some children or youths, it may not be conducive for them to return home to their families, despite the best efforts of all parties. MSF will support them in exploring kinship care arrangements to stay with relatives, where possible. Our Homes also prepare them for independent living by providing them guidance on key areas like education and employment, facilitating referrals to community agencies post-discharge, and connecting them to rental or hostel options. Residents of MSF’s Youth Homes are also provided post-care support up to a year to smoothen their transition and reintegration into the community.
4 During their stay, the children in Licensed Residential Homes continue attending school. Some residents of MSF’s Youth Homes attend on-site lessons based on MOE syllabuses and taught by MOE-trained teachers. Due to the smaller class sizes, teachers at the Homes are also able to provide additional attention to residents who require more academic and pastoral attention. Residents who satisfy certain conditions may continue to attend their existing schools outside the Homes. Vocational studies are also available for older youth and school leavers. Depending on the age when the residents are discharged from the Homes, they may continue attending school, for example at Institutes of Higher Learning. The males may be enlisted for National Service. If the residents are ready to enter the workforce, the Homes will help to link them up with internships or job placements.