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Ministry of Social and Family Development's addendum to the President's Address 2018

Type: Press Releases

Topic(s): Children & Families, Marriage Journey, Financial Assistance & Social Support, Rehabilitation, Disability Services

1 In the coming years, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will continue to strengthen our partnership with the community in order to nurture resilient individuals, strong families, and a caring society.

A Good Start for Every Child

2 To give every child a good start in life, we will press on with the transformation of the early childhood sector, so that more families can benefit from accessible, affordable, and good quality early childhood services. We will expand full day pre-school places to provide a place for every child who needs one. Two out of every three pre-schoolers will have a place in government or government-supported pre-schools by 2023, in centres run by Anchor Operators and Partner Operators, as well as MOE Kindergartens. To build a strong foundation for bilingual learning, we will also double the number of Anchor Operator pre-schools which offer Malay or Tamil as Mother Tongue Languages, in addition to Chinese.

3 To support sustainable growth of this sector, the Early Childhood Development Agency will work closely with industry partners and the National Institute of Early Childhood Development to ensure that our early childhood educators have meaningful and rewarding careers. We will also make good use of training and technology to raise standards and productivity.

4 For children from low-income families, we will develop a strong ecosystem of support through the KidSTART pilot. We will partner parents to enable their children to develop holistically in the familiar settings of their home and pre-school.

A Great Place for Families

Encouraging Strong Family Ties

5 We must continue to make Singapore one of the best places to build strong families and bring up children. Together with our community partners, we will foster a family-friendly environment, and share the joys of marriage and parenthood. We will provide marriage preparation and support programmes through our community partners, so that couples and families are equipped to build strong relationships. We will also continue to provide resources to support parents in caring for and bonding with their children.

Supporting Families in Distress

6 Even as we pursue these, we recognise that some marriages may not work out. Through the work of the newly-formed Committee to Review and Enhance Reforms in the Family Justice System, we will enhance the therapeutic and restorative approach in the family justice system, so as to reduce the negative impact on children arising from family break-up and divorce.

Opportunities for All to Succeed

Enhancing the Delivery of Social Assistance

7 Our network of Social Service Offices (SSOs) has brought help closer to those in need. We will continue to tackle our social challenges by enhancing social service delivery on the ground. Through the SSOs, we will strengthen our partnerships and processes across agencies and community partners, to provide more holistic, client-centric support. We aim to help clients receive assistance and apply for multiple help schemes more conveniently, no matter which agency they first approach. We will also channel Government, private sector, and community resources to yield greater and more long-lasting impact. By significantly tightening processes and improving coordination, we will ease the burden on clients, and better help them to get back on their feet.

Empowering Our Youth

8 We will support youth-at-risk with opportunities to succeed in life, by intervening more aggressively upstream, and adopting a more preventive, rehabilitative, and integrative approach towards youth-at-risk, youth offenders, and their families. The National Committee on Prevention, Rehabilitation and Recidivism, comprising Government agencies and community partners, will review the effectiveness of our approaches, identify new strategies, and drive greater coordination across the public, private, and people sectors.

9 Through our new Integrated Service Providers, we will provide youth-at-risk and youth offenders with programmes that are better tailored to their needs and delivered with greater consistency. This will raise the quality of youth programmes, and better help our youth achieve positive outcomes in life.

A Caring and Inclusive Society

Enabling Singaporeans of All Abilities to Live Well

10 With SG Enable, we will continue to implement the Third Enabling Masterplan to empower persons with disabilities to live their lives to their fullest potential. For children with developmental needs, we will intervene early and tailor support services to best help them in their growing years. As persons with disabilities progress through different stages of life, we will provide more seamless support, such as by easing the transition from school to work. To enhance opportunities for employment and lifelong learning, we will prepare and equip persons with disabilities to be effective at the workplace, and work closely with employers to build an inclusive company culture. We will also support caregivers to ensure their well-being and peace of mind, with regard to the care of their loved ones.

11 We will care for our seniors, who continue to enrich our society with their wisdom and experience. We will support and encourage Singaporeans to plan ahead to safeguard and unlock their assets with a Lasting Power of Attorney, in the event that they lose mental capacity. For those who have lost mental capacity, and have no family to help, we will empower credible and trustworthy members of the community to step in to support. In doing so, we hope that Singaporeans can enter their silver years with confidence and peace of mind.

Protecting the Vulnerable from Harm

12 We will continue to enhance comprehensive support for children who experience abuse and neglect. This includes intervention to support families to make the home environment safer for children, and expanding foster care so that children who cannot be with their biological families can still grow up in a family environment. We will also explore how to further enhance kinship care arrangements, where children are cared for by relatives, and thus are able to remain more closely connected with their families.

13 We will introduce legislation to protect vulnerable adults who are suffering from abuse, neglect, or self-neglect in their homes. Along with changes to the law, we will strengthen linkages across agencies and the community to support vulnerable adults and their families.

Strengthening the Social Service Sector

14 Through the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), we will continue to develop the social service sector, as they are vital partners in our mission to uplift and protect vulnerable individuals and families. We will groom leaders and professionals, deepen skills and capabilities, and create more developmental pathways. We will also continue to strengthen the organisational capabilities of Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) through initiatives such as the VWOs-Charities Capability Fund.

Nurturing a Spirit of Giving and Caring

15 Over the years, VWOs, corporates, community organisations, social service professionals, and many Singaporeans have stepped forward to extend a helping hand to people in need. In line with the SG Cares movement, we will further nurture this spirit of giving. NCSS will work with VWOs to build the volunteer management capabilities of our VWOs, and better shape volunteer roles and opportunities so that volunteers can contribute meaningfully. We will also champion social innovation and enterprise, and enable more consistent and sustainable giving by individuals and corporates. These efforts will actualise and amplify the goodwill in society.

Towards a Better Future Together

16 Creating a more cohesive society is a continuous endeavour over the long-term. We invite all Singaporeans to partner us in this journey to strengthen our society and improve the lives of others, as we work towards a better future together.