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Strengthening Families To Help Them Achieve Stability, Self-Reliance And Social Mobility; Additional Support For Lower-Income Families And Persons With Disabilities; 4-15% Salary Increases Recommended For Social Service Sector

Type: Press Releases

Topic(s): Committee of Supply


Strengthening families to help them achieve stability, self-reliance and social mobility
Additional support for lower-income families and persons with disabilities
4-15% salary increases recommended for social service sector

At the Committee of Supply debate 2023, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) announced measures to strengthen families to achieve stability, self-reliance and social mobility and build A Singapore Made for Families. Additional support will be given to lower-income families and persons with disabilities. Key initiatives include:

  • ComLink to integrate common functions across multiple programmes to better provide Comprehensive, Convenient and Coordinated support for families with children in rental housing;
  • Scale-up of KidSTART nationwide by 2026, and priority enrolment for children from lower-income families at Anchor Operator preschools;
  • 1,400 more Early Intervention places, and enhancements to affordability to support more children with developmental needs;
  • Expansion of Families For Life (FFL)@Community initiative nationwide by 2025;
  • Bringing more community support services as well as training and employment opportunities nearer to where persons with disabilities live;
  • Recommendation of increases of 4 to 15% under NCSS’s Sector Salary Guidelines

2        Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli said, “Families are the bedrock of our society and our first line of support. It is also in families where values are passed on and where our character is shaped. A supportive family provides the environment for our children to grow up to be compassionate members of society, while pursuing their aspirations. A strong society is thus built on strong families, and we must continue our efforts to strengthen families.”

Uplifting families who require greater support and giving every child a good start

ComLink: Integrate common functions across multiple programmes

3        Families with children living in rental housing can look forward to enhanced support. MSF has expanded Community Link (ComLink)1 nationwide to cover 21 ComLink communities. Over 2,400 volunteers have been recruited to support ComLink efforts, including outreach, befriending, and programmes. MSF has reached out to families with children in rental flats across all ComLink communities to understand their needs, hopes, and aspirations, and provide befriending support. Since November 2022, all families with children, who moved into rental flats, have also been offered ComLink support under the ComLink Rental Scheme.

4         ComLink will be further enhanced by streamlining common functions, such as outreach, befriending, and case support, across multiple programmes such as KidSTART, UPLIFT Community Network, and Project Dian@M3. ComLink officers and befrienders will act as a consistent touchpoint to co-develop with families an action plan across agencies/programmes. Since August 2022, 60 ComLink families in Jalan Besar have benefited from this enhanced approach, which will be rolled out progressively to more families.

Scale up of KidSTART nationwide by 2026, and priority enrolment for children from lower-income families at Anchor Operator preschools

5        Since the start of 2023, ECDA has worked closely with Anchor Operators to prioritise enrolment for children from lower-income families at their preschools. KidSTART, which has supported more than 6,200 children aged 6 and below from lower-income families, will be extended to Jalan Besar, Toa Payoh, Sengkang, Hougang and Serangoon in the coming year. KidSTART targets to onboard 80% of children from eligible families (up from the current 20%), when it is scaled up nationwide by 2026.

More support for children with developmental needs

6        Children below 7 years old with developmental needs, who require medium to high levels of Early Intervention (EI), can receive more timely and affordable support. 1,400 new places will be added over the next 2 years, in new centres offering the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) as well as through the Enhanced Pilot for Private Intervention Providers (PPIP) programme.

7         From 1 July 2023, ECDA will introduce caps on the maximum amount that families will pay for the PPIP programme. A middle-income family can expect to pay around $190 per month for PPIP after subsidies, less than half of what they are paying today2. Additionally, ECDA plans to implement the Inclusive Support Programme (InSP)3 in more preschools from 2026. Together, these efforts will serve 80% of children with developmental needs requiring medium to high levels of EI support by 2027, up from 60% today.

Making Singapore a great place for families

Expansion of FFL@Community initiative nationwide by 2025; National Family Week an annual fixture

8        Under A Singapore Made for Families 20254 (MFF 2025) plan, FFL@Community will be expanded beyond the current two towns at Choa Chu Kang and Yishun to nine towns by end-2023, and to all towns by 2025. In addition to its current marriage and parenting programmes, FFL@Community will also offer marriage mentoring and set up parent peer support groups. The marriage and parenting programmes are expected to benefit 4,000 couples and 20,000 parents annually by 2025, an increase from 1,300 couples and 10,000 parents currently. In addition, the National Family Week will be held annually in June following its inauguration last year. Families can look forward to an exciting line-up of family bonding activities across Singapore to encourage all to prioritise family time.

Fostering a caring and inclusive society

Launch of first Enabling Services Hub and Enabling Business Hub

9        As part of the Enabling Masterplan 20305, persons with disabilities, their caregivers and families, can soon access community and employment support closer to their homes.

    a.        The first Enabling Services Hub (ESH) will be launched by SG Enable in collaboration with SPD in Tampines West Community Centre by mid-2023. The ESH will offer social inclusion activities and continual education and learning courses for persons with disabilities, as well as drop-in respite care to support caregivers. The ESH will also reach out to persons with disabilities in the region and match them with community befrienders and resources as needed.

    b.        The first Enabling Business Hub (EBH) will be launched by SG Enable in Jurong West in 2H 2023. SG Enable will collaborate with industry associations to showcase inclusive hiring practices and encourage more employers to adopt them. Persons with disabilities will have work opportunities and job support near their homes.

Enhancing Support for a Future-Ready Social Service Sector

10        Minister Masagos Zulkifli added, “Integral to our efforts to strengthen families and uplift those in need are our partners. In particular, our social service agencies journey with families and deliver services that meet their specific needs. These are invaluable efforts, and in recognition of this, 2023 has been dedicated as the Year of Celebrating Social Service Partners6 (YCPartners).”

4%-15% salary increases recommended in new salary guidelines for social service sector

11         MSF and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) have revised the salary guidelines for the social service sector across all professions and job levels. The updated salary guidelines, which recommend salary increases of 4% to 15%, will take effect on 1 April 2023. Additionally, NCSS will be stepping up its efforts to strengthen SSA’s volunteer management capabilities so that volunteers can augment the capability and capacity of SSAs. These will contribute to efforts for a future-ready social service sector which is responsive in delivering quality services and innovative programmes to address current and emerging social needs.

12        Our SSAs will also receive greater financial support to better serve those in need. Tote Board has committed about $846 million in funding for more than 70 key social service programmes over the next five years, through the Tote Board Social Service Fund. This is their largest commitment to date and complements the Government’s funding of about $400m a year.

Uplifting Those in Need through Sustainable Philanthropy

13        2023 also marks the 40th anniversary of NCSS’s Community Chest. Community Chest will ramp up efforts to encourage sustainable philanthropy through Change for Charity, which works with businesses to incorporate giving mechanisms into their business models, and SHARE, its monthly giving programme.

14        Everyone has a part to play to build a tapestry of support to uplift those in need, for a caring and inclusive society. As part of YCPartners, MSF will recognise the integral contributions of partners from within and beyond the social service sector who work with us and with each other in nurturing and building lives together.

15        Please refer to Annex A for a list of Frequently Asked Questions. For more information, please visit go.gov.sg/msfbudget2023.

1 Community Link or ComLink provides Comprehensive, Convenient and Coordinated (3C) support to families with children who are living in public rental housing to help them build up resources for a brighter future. The goal is for these families to achieve Stability, Self-reliance, and Social mobility (3S), including home ownership eventually. ComLink does this through proactive outreach to families, close case support including befriending and the development of action plans for each familly and galvanising the community to offer customised programmes and services to the families.

2 Assuming the family paid ~$450 (median fee including GST for family earning per capita household income of $1,801 to $2300). PPIP fees differ across providers and range from $900 to $2,100 (before subsidies).

3 For more information on the InSP, visit  https://www.ecda.gov.sg/parents/other-services/early-intervention-services/inclusive-support-programme-(insp).

4 For more information on the MFF 2025, visit http://go.gov.sg/MFF2025plan.

5 The EMP2030 is Singapore’s fourth Enabling Masterplan which sets out the vision for Singapore as an inclusive society in 2030. For more information, visit https://go.gov.sg/emp2030.

6 For more information on the YCPartners, visit  http://go.gov.sg/YCPartners.

7 For more information on the Tote Board Social Service Fund, visit https://www.ncss.gov.sg/grants-search/detail-page/ToteBoardSocialServiceFundTBSSF

8 For more information on Community Chest, visit www.comchest.gov.sg

Annex A: Frequently Asked Questions
Annex B: List of Translated Terms