Information on SSSG and CARG
To report suspected child abuse, please visit this page. Please call the police at 999 immediately if the child's life is in danger.
What is the Structured Decision Making® (SDM®) system?
The Structured Decision Making® (SDM®) system is owned by the Children’s Research Center, National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), USA. It is an evidence-based decision support system used in many child protection jurisdictions across the United States, Canada, Australia and Taiwan.
Since late 2013, MSF has worked with NCCD and sector partners to adapt and localise the SDM® system for use in Singapore. MSF rolled out the SDM® system in 2015 to support professional judgement in making decisions affecting the safety of children.
The infographic below provides an overview of SDM® tools and the agencies that employ them
What are SSSG and CARG?
The Sector-Specific Screening Guide (SSSG) and Child Abuse Reporting Guide (CARG) are part of the Structured Decision Making® system and provide greater clarity in appropriate intervention for children along the continuum of child protection concerns. Both are evidence-based tools that guide professionals on managing reports of suspected child abuse, and the follow-up thereafter to ensure the safety and well-being of the children.
- Sector-Specific Screening Guide (SSSG). The SSSG is used by frontline professionals who have contact with children on a regular basis and guides professionals on whether the concern should be discussed with someone in the organisation who is trained in CARG, also known as a CARG user.
- Child Abuse Reporting Guide (CARG). Frontline professionals will consult trained professionals within each organisation, who will utilise CARG to guide the decision on whether to report a concern to MSF Child Protective Service (CPS) or take alternative action for less serious child protection concerns.
MSF has trained professionals in the community (e.g. teachers, social service agency staff) to use the SSSG and CARG. For more information on training matters, please visit the training information tab.
Why is it important for professionals to use SSSG and CARG?
- As a professional, you will be guided in reporting the right information at the right time to the right agency. This reduces the time and resources needed for information gathering.
- You can help children and families better. When families are referred to the right agencies, parents and children can receive timely intervention from the appropriate agency most suited for their family situation. There is a whole network of agencies that provide different level of interventions to keep children safe. Within the community, CPS has also set up and trained Child Protection Specialist Centres (CPSCs) to serve as specialists, and provide less-intrusive interventions early to keep children safe within their families.
- You will be able to help CPS to concentrate on the most serious reports of abuse by family members, which requires higher levels of interventions that are more intrusive.
What happens after a concern is reported?
SSSG and CARG are just two tools that under the SDM system. CPS uses another SDM tool, the Screening and Response Priority Tool (SRPT) to decide whether a case should be screened into CPS. When a concern is reported, CPS will gather more information. The SRPT guides CPS’ decision on whether or not to the family needs to be investigated by CPS, or if the family’s needs can be better addressed by another agency. This means that even for situations where CARG’s outcome is to refer to CPS, the situation may not warrant an immediate intervention by CPS.
Overview of SSSG, CARG and SRPT
|SDM® assessment tools
|Who uses them?
||Key decision for user to make
|Sector-Specific Screening Guide (SSSG)
|Frontline professionals who come in contact with children on a regular basis, e.g. teachers, doctors, social workers
|Should I discuss a concern I have for a child with a CARG user?
• Provide a common language and lens on child protection and consistency in how issues are assessed and decisions are made by professionals across the child protection system.
• Guide professionals to think through relevant issues at each decision point.
• Identify the levels of intervention needed and agencies to be involved.
|Child Abuse Reporting Guide (CARG)
|Professionals trained/ more familiar in child protection issues, e.g. school counsellors, medical social workers, senior social workers / Agency Heads
Should I report/refer the case to:
• CPS or
• Community Agencies (e.g. Social Service Office, Family Service Centres, community-based Child Protection Specialist Centres etc)?
|Screening and Response Priority Tool (SRPT)
|Should CPS screen in the case and undertake an investigation; if it is screened in, how fast does CPS need to intervene?
1. Introduction to SSSG E-Learning
The Sector-Specific Screening Guide (SSSG) is part of the Structured Decision Making SDM® suite of tools. It is an evidence-based tool which guides professionals working with children to make decisions on whether a child protection concern needs to be reported to CPS. The SSSG is used by frontline professionals who have contact with children on a regular basis and guides professionals on whether the concern should be discussed with someone in the organisation who is more familiar with child protection issues.
This e-learning module aims to introduce learners to the Sector-Specific Screening Guide (SSSG) and its role in the reporting and screening process by helping professionals sort concerns into those that should be further assessed for reporting consideration and those that require other action or no action at all. It also provides participants with opportunities to practice using the tool with case scenarios.
By the end of the course, learners will be able to:
- Explain the purpose of SSSG in the context of child protection.
- Explain the relationship between SSSG, CARG and the Screening and Response Priority Tool (SRPT).
- Identify the area of concern and items specific to the different sectors in accordance to SSSG.
2. Introduction to CARG E-learning
The Child Abuse Reporting Guide (CARG) aims to help professionals decide on the need to report possible concerns of abuse and neglect of children and young persons to the Child Protective Service (CPS) in the Ministry of Social and Family Development. CARG is part of the Structured Decision Making (SDM) © suite of tools used in Singapore.
CARG and SSSG guide a reporting process to ensure that:
- children, young persons and families requiring statutory child protection services are promptly reported; and
- cases involving vulnerable children and young persons are provided relevant services and intervention.
The CARG e-learning course provides a review of SSSG, opportunity to practice CARG tool through case scenarios and information of the CARG user’s role.
3. Course Registration
SSI is currently in the soft launch phase of a new Learning Management System (LMS). During this period, learners can check for the course dates, availability of slots and register for courses via the links provided below. After registration has closed, SSI will process and grant courseware access to registered learners. Learners will then have one month to complete the e-learning.
For SSSG e-learning: Click here to check for course dates and register
For CARG e-learning: Click here for course dates and to register
- Select “Learn More”
- Refer to the drop-down list for more upcoming course dates (E-Learning Access Period of 1 calendar month)
- Select desired course dates
- Register (or Select “Indicate Your Interest” if the course is not yet open for registration, to receive a notification when the course registration is open)
1. What is SSSG and CARG?
The SSSG and CARG are evidence-based tools which help professionals working with children to make decisions on whether a child protection concern needs to be reported to the Child Protective Service (CPS) of the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). The tools are part of the Structured Decision Making® (SDM) system which includes other tools like the Screening and Response Priority Tool (SRPT). The series of tools aim to guide the detection, reporting and management of child abuse cases. It helps ensure that children and young persons are given the relevant service and intervention according to the needs.
For more information, please go to the 'Information on SSSG and CARG' tab.
2. Who uses the SSSG and CARG?
The SSSG is used by frontline professionals who have contact with children on a regular basis and guides professionals’ decision on whether the concern should be discussed with someone in the organisation who is more familiar with child protection issues. Within each organisation and in the community, trained professionals managing child protection issues undertake or provide advice on the use of the CARG, which is used to guide the decision on whether to report a concern to CPS, take alternative action or take no action.
3. Are SSSG and CARG always accurate in detecting child abuse cases?
SSSG and CARG were jointly developed by professionals from various sectors such as healthcare, social service and education and are designed with Singapore’s laws, cultures and families in mind. Representatives from these sectors help create and contextualise the items in SSSG and CARG to include situations that professionals in the sector are most likely to experience. However, the items are not exhaustive and there may be exceptional cases that will require the professionals to exercise their professional judgement.
SSSG and CARG are intended to complement rather than replace critical thinking and do not prohibit a reporter from any course of action he/she believes is appropriate.
4. Can I read the CARG manual and use the tool without going for training?
You should go for training before using the manual and the tool. The reporting decision is not an easy one and the consequences of the decision are considerable. During training, important principles about the use of CARG will be covered and these will have an impact on how the CARG should be used, which will eventually affect the reporting decision.
5. Is there an online version of CARG that we can use?
There will be an online version of CARG that will be rolled out in 2019. More details to be made available subsequently.
1. What is the duration of the SSSG and CARG User training?
For CARG, it is a 1-day classroom training. You may find out more about the training details in the 'Training Information' tab.
Currently there are no standalone training for SSSG. However, the development of the e-learning for SSSG is underway and it will be rolled out in 2019. More information of the SSSG e-learning will be updated in the 'Training Information' tab.
2. What are the eligibility criteria for SSSG and CARG User training?
There are no eligibility criteria for SSSG training.
CARG requires some form of assessment skills and basic knowledge of case management. Hence, to sign up for CARG training, you need to have a degree or diploma in social work or social service related fields, or have experience working in the social service sector. Senior staff holding a supervisory role such as school principals, head of child care centres, may also sign up for the CARG training.
3. I am interested to become an internal trainer for SSSG and CARG in my organisation. What are the eligibility criteria?
The SSSG and CARG Train-the-Trainers (TTT) course equips participants with the knowledge and skills to conduct training on the use of the SSSG and CARG for workers in their agencies. The course was reviewed recently to enhance the practice component that allows participants to rehearse and sharpen their skills in teaching the tools. The course further equips the participants to discuss and plan how they can roll out their training and be the internal resource persons for SSSG and CARG at their agencies.
The TTT participants must have completed the CARG user training. They must have at least three years of social service experience and be either a senior staff or undertaking supervisory duties with oversight of child abuse/neglect cases and/or are involved/interested in training. They must be nominated by their agency heads and are committed to run at least 1 internal training in their agencies within 1 year from the time they completed their TTT course.
Click on the 'Training Information' tab for more information on the TTT course.
4. What is the frequency of SSSG and CARG User training?
Find out more on the SSSG and CARG User training schedule on the 'Training Information' tab.
1. If I am already CARG trained, do I still have to use SSSG when I have child protection concerns?
You do not have to use the SSSG before you can use CARG. The SSSG and CARG are not 2-step processes where one must be completed before the other can be used. In addition, SSSG and CARG hold very different reporting thresholds, with CARG holding a higher reporting threshold as compared to SSSG.
2. Is it compulsory that the SSSG user comes to me with SSSG completed?
It is not compulsory for the SSSG to be completed before the SSSG user can consult the CARG user. One of the roles of a CARG user is to guide the SSSG user to increase his/her willingness and confidence in using SSSG. Hence, as a CARG user, you are encouraged to do the SSSG together with the SSSG user if the latter is unsure on how to use the tool.
3. I have a case that doesn’t meet the threshold for reporting to CPS but I still have concerns. What should I do? Who can I talk to?
SSSG and CARG are designed to help the workers carefully calibrate and consider information that is relevant to the decision point. By doing so, it helps workers to be intentional about decisions. However, SSSG and CARG are decision-support tools. They do not make the decisions. Workers do.
If the recommended outcome of SSSG/CARG is not to consult/report, you can still consult the internal CARG user, the Child Protection Specialist Centre (CPSC) or the Child Protective Service (CPS).
4. What happens if the internal CARG user is not available?
If your internal CARG user is not available, you may call the CPSC or the CPS for a consult. You may also contact the police if you have worries over immediate danger to the safety and well-being of the child or young person.
5. What happens if I need to make a report to CPS immediately after consulting CARG, but it is after office hours?
If you have worries over immediate danger to the safety and well-being of the child or young person, contact the police immediately. If the worry is not over immediate danger to the safety and well-being of the child or young person, you should try do an immediate safety plan that includes actions that can directly mitigate the danger for the child or young person for at least the next 24 hours. If you are unable to develop an immediate safety plan with the family to address the danger and you are still worried over the child or young person’s safety, please call the police immediately for assistance.
6. How does CPS decide what case to screen in? Are there some standard criteria?
All CPS intake officers will consult the SRPT for all referrals to CPS. SRPT is another decision-support tool and part of the SDM system. It helps to define the statutory threshold for cases to be screened in for statutory intervention and the threshold is aligned to the Children and Young Persons Act (CYPA).
After a case is screened in for state intervention, SRPT also helps to inform on the response time that a CPS’ investigation officer has to act on the case, depending on the risk assessed.
7. How long will CPS take to respond to all referrals from the time of report?
Upon referral of a case, there will be an acknowledgement from CPS to inform the reporter that the case has been received and is undergoing preliminary assessment by CPS’ intake officers. The response time from the time of referral to screening outcome from the CPS intake officer is between 1 to 3 working days, depending on the clarity of information provided by the referring agencies. Sometimes, the intake officers will need more time to clarify missing information before they are able to consult SRPT and get back to the reporting agency on the referral outcome.
8. If CPS screens out the case, will CPS recommend or advice on next steps for the professional to follow up on?
CPS’ intake officers will advise on the next steps that the professionals can take for screened-out cases.
1. If I have questions about SSSG and CARG, who should I contact?
You may email your enquiry to email@example.com.