Uplift hosts engagement session with community partners
Session held yesterday was first meeting with community partners
Lack of positive role models, adequate care and basic necessities are among the issues faced by those from disadvantaged families in Singapore, according to social workers and organisations who work with such families.
Collaboration and coordination are key to improving support for disadvantaged families, said many representatives of community support groups in Singapore during an engagement session.
About 30 participants from various organisations, such as Singapore Children's Society and Fei Yue Community Services, gathered at Radin Mas Community Club to share their perspectives and experiences as part of a series of engagement sessions with various stakeholders.
The sessions are intended to inform new inter-agency task force, Uplift, which is set up to help children from disadvantaged homes meet their true potential.
Following these stakeholder engagement sessions, the taskforce will work with the community to come up with solutions. Their recommendations are expected to be presented in 2019.
Uplift stands for Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce. Yesterday's session is the third engagement session that it has held, and its first with community partners.
Chairman of the taskforce and Second Minister for Education Indranee Rajah said that because social workers and volunteers are at the frontlines where they deal with these families day to day, their input and buy-in are vital.
She added: "Children from disadvantaged families very often come from backgrounds which are difficult and they don't have something that keeps them emotionally stable.
"You want the children to have a place or person that they can go to ."
Many of the participants agreed that coordination between government agencies and community services would be helpful, with some even suggesting a one-stop centre for families to access a variety of support, from counselling to financial assistance.
Ms Joy Lim, deputy director of Singapore Children's Society, said: "Someone needs to rally everyone together ... sharing data and having an integrated approach."
Ms Karen Er, an assistant senior counsellor with Heart@Fei Yue, which specialises in child protection services, agreed.
She said: "We do need to tackle these issues as a service on the whole, there can be a lot of systems involved, and we might not know what each agency is doing.
"We need to learn to collaborate and understand how to best reach out and intervene."