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Ensuring continued social assistance and essential services for vulnerable groups

Type: Press Releases

Topic(s): Financial Assistance & Social Support, Social Service Agencies & Partners, Social Service Professionals

The health and safety of users and staff in our social service agencies (SSAs) are of paramount importance in these challenging times. With the implementation of the major circuit breaker announced by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce today, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) will work closely with SSAs and service providers to ensure the continued provision of services to vulnerable Singaporeans with critical and urgent needs from 7 April to 4 May 2020 (inclusive).

Essential services will continue amidst heightened safe distancing measures

2 MSF’s Social Service Offices will continue to extend social and financial assistance to Singaporeans in need. This includes the Temporary Relief Fund, COVID-19 Support Grant and ComCare assistance schemes.

3 MSF services and funded SSAs involved in crisis intervention for serious, high-risk and urgent cases (e.g. family violence, child abuse, self-harm and self-abuse) will continue to operate.

4 MSF-funded residential homes will continue to serve our vulnerable, including seniors, destitute, persons with disabilities, and children and youth under statutory care and rehabilitation. For persons with disabilities with higher care needs, and for clients whose caregivers need alternative care arrangements, selected community-based centres will remain open to provide critical therapy and care intervention. We will work with SSAs and charities that provide services to support the day-to-day living of vulnerable Singaporeans, such as food support, to ensure continuity of their services with additional safety measures.

Other important services to be delivered online; non-essential and non-urgent services to be reduced or suspended

5 Non-essential and non-urgent services provided by MSF frontline services and SSAs will be reduced or suspended from 7 April to 4 May 2020 (inclusive). Some services remain important during this time, for example counselling and therapy services. Such services will be delivered remotely via online services, telephone or video-conferencing. Service users who have no critical need for these services are strongly encouraged to defer their appointments until after the stipulated period.

6 We understand that the reduction or suspension of services will cause inconvenience to many members of the public. We seek your understanding and cooperation to comply with these measures, in order to protect the health and safety of all service users and staff. A detailed list of the services which will continue to operate, and those which will be reduced or suspended, is appended in the Annex.

Support provided to SSAs

7 NCSS is working closely with its members to better support them during this period. This includes helping members strengthen their business continuity plans that will enable their staff to work remotely where possible, so that their operational effectiveness is not affected. NCSS will also work with members to put in place or build up their capabilities to provide services using remote means. In addition, NCSS will continue to monitor the situation closely to provide timely assistance and support to its member agencies.