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Policy on Protection & Welfare of Children

Children need a safe and nurturing environment for optimum growth and development.

As far as possible, children should stay with their families in a stable and conducive environment. When families become dysfunctional or unsafe for their members, intervention is needed to ensure that the children are put in a safe and secure place for their well-being.

Child Protective Service

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is the lead agency for protecting children and young persons (CYPs) from abuse and neglect in Singapore. MSF works closely with other government and non-government agencies to form the Child Protection System to safeguard the interests and welfare of CYPs in Singapore. 

The Child Protective Service (CPS) in MSF undertakes the statutory role in investigating and intervening into cases of CYPs who have been harmed or who are at high risk of future harm. The majority of the cases CPS handles involve CYPs who are abused by a family member (intra-familial abuse). While CPS undertakes a social investigation into the safety and protection of CYPs, the Singapore Police Force conducts a concurrent criminal investigation into an offence against the CYP. There is close collaboration between both agencies in investigating an allegation of child abuse and to keep CYPs safe.

The CYP’s immediate and longer term safety is undertaken through safety planning, comprehensive investigations, holistic assessments and implementation of intervention plans. This is done in close partnership with the family and community partners. 

Child abuse impacts victims in different ways. Programmes are tailored to the needs of each CYP to equip them with self-protection strategies, address their trauma or specific needs arising from the abuse, and help them back on the road to recovery. Efforts are also made to support the family with services to improve their functioning and ability to meet the CYP’s needs. Case conferences are convened at various points among professionals to share information, review the progress of the CYP and family and provide ongoing services to support the safety and well-being of the CYP.

In 2002, MSF developed a set of standards for child protection work in Singapore. The National Standards for Protection of Children sets out the service standards and service delivery framework for partners in child protection.

The book is also available from Child Protective Service, Rehabilitation and Protection Group, MSF.

Child Abuse

Child abuse is defined as any act of commission or omission by a parent or guardian which would endanger or impair the child’s physical or emotional well-being or that are judged by a mixture of community values and professionals to be inappropriate.

Child abuse includes:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Emotional and Psychological Abuse

The Children and Young Persons Act provides the legal basis for the protection and intervention by relevant authorities if a child (below the age of 14) or young person (from 14 years to below 16 years of age) is found to be abused or neglected.

Sector-Specific Screening Guide (SSSG) and the Child Abuse Reporting Guide (CARG)
The SSSG and CARG are evidence-based tools, which guide partners working with children to make decisions on whether a child protection concern needs to be reported to MSF's Child Protective Service (CPS). Click here to find out more about SSSG and CARG.

Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse

Families who are experiencing difficulties are advised to seek help early by approaching the nearest family service centre or social service office. Members of the public can also provide the first level of support for vulnerable families by reaching out to them with care and concern.

For further information or for reporting of child abuse, please contact:

Child Protective Service Helpline: 1800-777 0000
(Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5.30pm and Saturday, 8.30am-1pm)
Child Protective Service
SLF Podium
#01-01 to #01-09
512A Thomson Road
Singapore 298137

Child Protection Specialist Centres

6819 9170
Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm

Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre 
6445 0400
Monday – Friday 9.00am – 6.00pm

6266 0171
Monday – Friday 9.00am – 1.00pm; 2.00pm – 6.00pm 

or the Police Divisional HQ or the nearest Neighbourhood Police Post.

The booklet, Stop Family Violence - Child Abuse provides more information on child abuse and its prevention.

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Last Reviewed On Wed, Aug 14, 2019