To report suspected child abuse, please visit the National Anti-Violence and Sexual Harassment Helpline webpage. 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 Evident Change (formerly the National Council on Crime & Delinquency and Children's Research Center), 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 Evident Change 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 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||Key benefits|
|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?||
|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:
|Screening and Response Priority Tool (SRPT)||CPS||Should CPS screen in the case and undertake an investigation if it is screened in, how fast does CPS need to intervene?|
Sector-Specific Screening Guide (SSSG) and Child Abuse Reporting Guide (CARG)
SSSG and CARG are part of the Structured Decision Making® (SDM®) system. They support a range of responses along the continuum of child protection concerns and guide professionals in deciding when a referral to MSF's Child Protective Service (CPS) is required.
Since the launch of the SSSG and CARG e-learning modules, MSF CPS has been absorbing the full course fees for learners.
With effect from January 2023, learners will have to pay the full course fee of $26.50 (excluding GST) to the Social Service Institute (SSI) for each module.
Please note that between now to January 2023, these e-learning modules are still accessible for free. You may refer to the table below for the registration and course access period.
|Registration Period||Course Access Period|
|21 Nov - 4 Dec 2022||12 Dec 2022 - 11 Jan 2023|
|5 Dec - 18 Dec 2022||26 Dec 2022 - 25 Jan 2023|
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
- 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
Learners can check for the course dates, availability of slots and register for courses via the link provided below.
- Go to SSI's online course registration portal
- Enter keyword “SSSG” or "CARG" and click search
- Click "Select Schedule"
- Click "I want to register for this Course"
- Read the Terms and Conditions for Course Application, tick "Agree"
- Select "Add to cart"
- Log in or request for a new account at the SSI registration portal
1. What is the Sector-Specific Screening Guide (SSSG) and Child Abuse Reporting Guide (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 aim to guide the detection, reporting and management of child abuse cases in Singapore. 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 SSSG-trained frontline professionals who have contact with children on a regular basis. It guides professionals’ decision on whether the concern should be discussed with someone in the organisation who is more familiar with child protection issues (i.e., a CARG-trained user).
Within each organisation, CARG-trained professionals will administer the CARG tool and this will help to guide the decision on whether to report a concern to CPS, take alternative action or to continue observation and gather more information
3. How were the SSSG and CARG developed?
SSSG and CARG were jointly developed by professionals from various sectors such as law enforcement, healthcare, social service and education. They are designed with Singapore’s laws, culture and families in mind. Representatives from these sectors helped create and contextualise the items in SSSG and CARG to include situations that professionals in the sector are most likely to experience. SSSG and CARG are intended to complement rather than replace professional judgement and critical thinking. They do not prohibit a professional from undertaking any course of action he/she believes is appropriate.
1. Who should attend SSSG and CARG User training?
Professionals who work with children or may encounter child protection concerns through their work, are encouraged to attend SSSG and CARG training.
2. What are the eligibility criteria for SSSG and CARG User training?
There are no eligibility criteria for SSSG e-learning module.
For the CARG e-learning module, learners would have to complete the SSSG e-learning module before applying for the module.
3. What is the duration of the SSSG and CARG User training?
Both the SSSG and CARG e-learning modules are one-hour long each.
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. Is there an online version of CARG that we can use?
Professionals who are trained in CARG are encouraged to register for an e-CARG account at https://go.gov.sg/ecarg. With this account, the professional is able to score CARG electronically via the website and send a scoring of the e-CARG directly to CPS.
1. If I have questions about SSSG and CARG e-learning modules, who should I contact?
You may email your enquiry to SocialServiceInstitute@ncss.gov.sg.
2. I am a trained SSSG / CARG user. Who should I consult if I have further questions about the SSSG / CARG outcome even though the outcome is not to report / consult CPS?
Please consult your organisation’s trained CARG user, a child protection specialist centre or the National Anti-Violence Helpline at 1800 777 0000.
For questions regarding the SSSG and CARG e-learning modules, you may email SocialServiceInstitute@ncss.gov.sg.
If you still have questions or concerns after completing the SSSG / CARG even though the outcome is not to report to / consult CPS, please consult:
- your organisation’s trained CARG user
- a child protection specialist centre or
- the National Anti-Violence Helpline at 1800 777 0000