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MSF's Addendum to the President's Address 2023

Type: Press Releases

Topic(s): Children & Families, Disability Services, Women Empowerment, Financial Assistance & Social Support, Rehabilitation, Social Service Agencies & Partners, Social Service Professionals

1.          The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will strengthen families as the bedrock of our society. We will build a more caring and inclusive society, drawing on the strengths of individuals and families, the social capital within our communities, and resources from the public, people, and private sectors, to provide a tapestry of support to uplift those in need.

A Great Place for Families, A Good Start for Every Child

Strengthening the Family

2.          We will implement the Singapore Made For Families 2025 plan, which outlines the efforts of the Government, community partners, and businesses to create a Singapore where all families are valued and supported.

3.          We will strengthen the Families For Life (FFL) movement. FFL will establish a presence in all towns by 2025 in partnership with Family Service Centres (FSCs). This will provide families more convenient access to peer support groups, marriage preparation, parenting and grandparenting programmes at the local community level.

4.          For families that face more challenges, we will provide timely family-centric interventions such as marriage support for minor and young marriages, divorce support, and family counselling. We will do this through the nationwide network of 10 FSCs offering the Strengthening Families Programme.

Providing Accessible, Affordable and Quality Preschools

5.          We will continue to invest heavily in the early childhood sector to provide all children access to affordable and quality preschools. By 2025, 80% of pre-schoolers can have a place in a Government-supported preschool with affordable fees. We will enhance training and career progression for early childhood educators, keep salaries and working conditions competitive, and maintain the high quality of preschool education.

6.          In our Forward Singapore conversations, parents expressed their desire for more options to care for their young children, especially infants. We will study new care options apart from infant care facilities, to meet varying preferences and needs.

Fostering a Caring and Inclusive Society

7.          We will continue working towards our shared vision where men and women partner each other as equals. One key area is to encourage greater women’s representation in leadership roles, building on the good progress made in raising the proportion of women on boards.

8.          We will enable persons with disabilities (PwDs) to live independent and fulfilling lives, through the Enabling Masterplan 2030. SG Enable will launch regional Enabling Business and Enabling Services hubs to provide employment support to, and bring social support services closer to PwDs and their caregivers. MSF will also expand capacity in early intervention services and make preschools more inclusive to support children with developmental needs. To foster a more caring and inclusive society, we will work with corporates and the community to shift mindsets and enhance support for families with PwDs in areas such as cost of care and post-school life.

Opportunities for All to Succeed

Uplifting Lower-income Families

9.          We will strengthen our social safety nets for lower-income families and enable them to bounce back stronger. ComCare will be regularly updated to reflect basic expenditure patterns of lower-income families.

10.         Early childhood development for children from lower-income families will start them on the right path. We will close the gap in preschool participation rates of children from lower-income families with their peers. We will scale up KidSTART nation-wide by 2026 and facilitate priority enrolment for children from lower-income families in Anchor Operator Preschools and MOE Kindergartens by age three.

11.         We will also ensure that social services are comprehensive, convenient and coordinated so that families can get the help they need quickly and easily. To this end, Community Link (ComLink) officers and volunteer befrienders have adopted a family-centric approach in supporting families with children living in rental housing. MSF will also be integrating social programmes under ComLink, such as KidSTART, UPLIFT Community Network, and Project Dian@M3.

12.         We are studying how to empower ComLink families to take further action to improve their circumstances and that of their children, by augmenting and supplementing their efforts to uplift themselves. Through Forward Singapore, we will strengthen partnerships with volunteers, the community, and corporates to help these families achieve stability, self-reliance, and social mobility.

Transforming Lives of those At-Risk

13.         We will take a family-based approach to rehabilitate youth offenders, so that they can turn their lives around. We will also work with the community to protect families at risk of domestic violence. We have made it easier and more convenient for those experiencing or witnessing domestic violence to make reports, so that survivors can get help from social service professionals. We will amend the Women’s Charter to better protect survivors and hold perpetrators accountable even as we support their rehabilitation.

Strong Social Service Sector, A Caring Community

14.         2023 is the Year of Celebrating Social Service Partners for the good work of social service agencies (SSAs), businesses, and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs). We will accord similar recognition to social service professionals and volunteers.

Strengthening the Social Service Sector

15.         We will continue to partner SSAs in their transformation and extend more support through the Community Capability Trust, so that their digitalisation processes, people practices, and volunteer management capabilities are future-ready.

16.         To ensure effective service delivery, we will prioritise funding for outcomes and improve data sharing and integrated case management through platforms such as Case Connect and One Client View. We will also reduce administrative and regulatory burden and streamline reporting requirements while still ensuring good governance.

17.         To grow the attractiveness of social service sector jobs, we will enhance skills training, guide SSAs to pay competitively through the updated NCSS Sector Salary Guidelines, and improve working conditions.

Expanding Partnerships with Businesses and Institutes of Higher Learning

18.         Businesses and organisations have assets, expertise, and networks they can creatively leverage to support their philanthropic efforts and create sustained social impact. MSF will partner businesses to strengthen the social impact in their Environmental, Social, and Governance policies. We will also strengthen collaborations with IHLs and academics to train social service professionals, and to undertake research to inform our policies and practices.

Charting our Way Forward Together

19.         We will create a Singapore made for families, give every child a good start, and help every family achieve stability, self-reliance and social mobility. Together, we can secure a better future for ourselves and our children.