Mr Leon Perera
Non-Constituency Member of Parliament
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development what are the programmes to help (i) youths who are at risk of under-performing academically or transitioning successfully into adulthood due to socio-economic or familial circumstances and (ii) at-risk youths who come from multi-problem families.
1 We recognise that youths-at-risk often face multiple stressors, including weak family support, negative peer influence and financial difficulty.
2 Since 2018, MSF has appointed nine Social Service Agencies to run a suite of programmes aimed at addressing different at-risk behaviours. For example, a core programme is the Enhanced STEP-UP, which helps youths who are either at risk of dropping out or have stopped attending school, to continue their education or acquire work skills and employment. It provides individual casework and counselling to address specific risks and needs of our youths. Recognising that youths-at-risk do not naturally seek centre-based help, MSF has appointed two Social Service Agencies since 2012 to run the Youth GO! Programme. Youth workers do street outreach and build a social relationship with the youths before moving on to case management or deeper engagement through interest-based activities. The interest-based activities engage the youths constructively and provide an alternative to youths’ negative activities.
3 MOE has also established the Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce (UPLIFT) to strengthen upstream support for students from disadvantaged families, such as by enhancing after-school engagement programmes. The programmes seek to improve the students’ connectedness to school, community and peers, and strengthen their motivation and resilience.
4 It is not uncommon that at-risk youths are in families that face multiple challenges. Family Service Centres work with such families to address a range of issues, to ensure that both the youths and their family members receive support that is timely and effective.
5 As announced at MSF’s Committee of Supply debate earlier this year, MSF is piloting a Localised Community Network (LCN) in Jurong West. The pilot will enable relevant Government agencies to pull together data and identify at-risk youths early, and coordinate agencies and partners in the local community to more seamlessly serve the youths and their families.
6 MSF will continue to partner other Ministries and Social Service Agencies to provide convenient, comprehensive and coordinated social services, so that all youths have the opportunity to develop to their full potential.