OPENING REMARKS BY MR ERIC CHUA, SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF SOCIAL AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT AND MINISTRY OF CULTURE, COMMUNITY AND YOUTH, LAUNCH OF FOSTER CARE WORKERS SKILLS FRAMEWORK AT FOSTERING EXPRESS, 31 JULY 2023
Dr Roland Yeow, Executive Director of Boys’ Town,
Mr Tan Khye Suan, Executive Director of Epworth Community Services,
Ms Tuminah Sapawi, CEO of PPIS,
Ms Audrie Siew, Executive Director of The Salvation Army,
Foster Care Workers from the Fostering Agencies,
1 A very good afternoon to all of you. It is my pleasure to join you today at this Community of Practice session for our Foster Care Workers.
2 MSF has designated this year, 2023, as the year of Celebrating Social Service Partners and we want to acknowledge the contributions of our Fostering Agencies in building strong foster families, a strong ecosystem and at the same time supporting foster children. We have come a long way since 2015 when we appointed our very first Fostering Agency. Today we are glad to have our Fostering Agencies partnering MSF to support and grow foster care in the community.
Important role of Foster Care Workers
3 Foster Care Workers play a critical role in journeying alongside our foster families and children and supporting them through case management and professional guidance.
4 Needless to say, FCWs have a tough role. While managing the complex emotional dynamics experienced by children entering and leaving foster care, often times you have to also advocate for the children’s well-being and collaborate with many different stakeholders to provide a nurturing and stable environment for them.
5 To all Foster Care Workers who are here today, a big thank you to all of you, for the good work that you do. Your commitment to improving the lives of foster children is truly commendable. I would also like to appreciate your work in nurturing strong families, and a caring society. And we want to ensure you are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to continue your good work.
Foster Care Workers Skills Framework
6 To this end, MSF and the Fostering Agencies worked together to jointly develop the Foster Care Workers Skills Framework, incorporating feedback from professionals in the fostering sector. This is the first such framework by the sector, for the sector. The framework consolidates and enhances the current training courses for Foster Care Workers into a capability building tool to empower Foster Care Workers to better support foster parents in providing quality care for our foster children.
7 The Foster Care Workers Skills Framework provides a structured framework outlining the technical knowledge and skills that Foster Care Workers require. It serves as a reference for Foster Care Workers to assess their existing knowledge and skills, identify areas for improvement, for development and suitable training programmes as well.
8 The Framework was piloted in February 2023 and has been well-received. Fostering Agencies have used it as a tool during supervision sessions with Foster Care Workers. It also provides guidance on specific trainings necessary for upskilling. Senior Foster Care Worker Ms Gan Hui Hoon from Epworth Community Services shared that the Framework is a useful tool which provides clarity for her and her supervisees to assess their levels of proficiency in different work areas and identify the areas for development. The training roadmap also guides her and her supervisees to chart their professional growth, upgrade and enhance their skills to provide better support to foster families.
9 We have received feedback on the Framework and will continue to refine it to keep it updated and relevant for practice. I thank the Fostering Agencies for co-developing the Framework and am very privileged to now officially launch the Foster Care Workers Skills Framework.
10 In closing, I would like to thank all our Fostering Agencies for being a part of the fostering community and for working closely with MSF to ensure our foster children’s interests are well looked after.
11 The launch of the Foster Care Workers Skills Framework marks a milestone in our collective journey to empower Foster Care Workers so that we can all upskill to provide better support foster families and children.
12 Together, let us forge ahead to strengthen our community of practitioners so that we can make a difference in every child’s life and give them a chance to not just survive, but to thrive and build a better future regardless of their family circumstances.
13 Thank you and I wish you a great session this afternoon.