Families shape how Singaporeans relate to each other as fellow members of community, says Minister Masagos

The Singapore Government’s position remains that families are foundational to the society.

Edwin Chan

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Published: 20 October 2022, 9:18 PM

Families are the first line of support and shape how we relate to each other as fellow members of our community, said Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli at the SG Cares Community Network session held on Thursday (Oct 20).

The engagement session, held at HomeTeamNS Khatib, was organised as part of the Forward SG exercise.

Mr Masagos reiterated in his opening speech that the Government’s position remains that families are foundational to our society. “We want to continue to be a society that strengthens families. I introduced the Constitutional Amendment Bill in Parliament earlier today.

“The constitution amendment will protect the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman from constitutional challenge.”

The Government will also continue to partner the community, individuals and corporates in strengthening families – the bedrock of society.

He also highlighted that the values from bonds in families are “what plant our sense of care for others in society” and “elevate our roles and responsibilities to one another”.

Beyond families, Mr Masagos also recognised that there are some who require additional support to “continue on the moving escalator with the rest of society”. 

This includes lower-income families who may face “complex and interlocking challenges” spanning many areas such as finances, education, and employment, which cannot be comprehensively addressed by just one agency or partner.

Mr Masagos further emphasised the need to be a society that seeks the good of the other, where every Singaporean is assured that no one will be left behind.

To provide such additional support, application processes across different agencies and schemes have been streamlined through the ComCare scheme bundles.

ComCare clients can now benefit from other Government schemes, such as Student Care Fee Assistance and Ministry of Education (MOE) financial assistance, without submitting additional forms or documents or undergoing repeated mean-testing.

The Government will also enhance the delivery of support for lower-income families through Community Link (ComLink), said Mr Masagos. ComLink was set up in 2019 by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to provide Comprehensive, Convenient and Coordinated (3C) support to empower families with children living in rental housing to improve their circumstances.

There will also be a streamline of common functions such as befriending and case support across programmes like KidSTART, an upstream programme to help children aged 0 to six years from low-income families, and UPLIFT, a programme where Family Befrienders engage parents of students from lower-income backgrounds to help build more stable and conducive home environments for children.

According to Mr Masagos, a consistent group of ComLink befrienders will journey with the families towards their aspirations, while bringing together agencies and community partners to empower families to achieve their goals.

The effort to provide integrated support centred around the family will be led by the Social Service Offices (SSO) in the respective towns. 

“With the SSO as a consistent touchpoint, we are bringing together different agencies and community partners to provide more comprehensive, convenient, and coordinated support, to help families as they work towards stability, self-reliance, and social mobility,” said Mr Masagos.

There are also plans for Singapore to become a more inclusive society for persons with disabilities. Mr Masagos shared that the goal is to reach the target of 40 per cent employment rate among persons with disabilities, up from 30 per cent today.

That translates to about 10,000 more persons with disabilities being recognised for their abilities, knowledge, and skills in employment.

The Enabling Masterplan 2030, which was just launched in August this year, will “serve as a roadmap for Singapore” to work towards becoming a more inclusive society. The masterplan saw Singaporeans from the private, people, and public sectors, including persons with disabilities, deliberated and developed 29 recommendations across 14 focal areas.

“There is no ready blueprint for the Singapore of tomorrow. It is up to each of us to chart our new way forward together.

“The future of Singapore belongs to all of us, and I look forward to working with you to weave a tapestry of support for a better future,” said Mr Masagos.

For more content about Forward SG and how youths can participate, click here.

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