New national plan launched to provide support for families across different life stages

Under the plan, single parents will also receive holistic support for their children.

Farhana Subuhan

Published: 9 November 2022, 4:16 PM

A national plan to strengthen commitment to a family-friendly society, named A Singapore Made for Families (MMF 2025), was launched by the Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (Nov 8).

Speaking at the Consortium of Institutes on Family in the Asian Region (CIFA) Regional Symposium, Mr Heng shared that the plan will build on the momentum of what the incumbent has done so far and “sets out refreshed strategies to strengthen and uplift families through all stages of life”.

The three-year plan aims to create a Singapore where all families are valued and supported across different chapters of life.

“By strengthening these concentric circles of relationships and care, we can build strong and cohesive communities in our society and around the world,” he said.

Mr Heng introduced three broad thrusts the initiatives will be categorised under: Culture, Empower, and Uplift.

Journeying with families through life

The MMF 2025 aims to journey with families at every stage of their lives through the introduction of several initiatives.

A new solemnisation site at the Family Zone in Gardens by the Bay will open its doors to public on Nov 26 while the Registries of Civil and Muslim Marriages Building will be redeveloped by 2030.

Mr Heng cited that China, Singapore, and South Korea’s fertility rates are now comparable to or lower than Japan’s. Therefore, financial support will be enhanced for married couples with children and there will be improved access to adoption-related matters through a new portal.

Those looking to tie the knot can strengthen their marital health with marriage programmes, mentoring, and mini marriage preparation tips.

He added that more flats will also be set aside for first-timer families as the demand for public housing continues to increase.

Couples who intend to have children will benefit from new parent support groups in neighbourhoods led by Families for Life, a council that hopes to build strong and resilient families.

Uplifting families facing challenges

Mr Heng also revealed that the plan will accommodate families with varying needs, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Single parents, regardless of their marital status, will receive holistic support in the areas of education, healthcare, and care for their Singaporean child.

The plan will also expand opportunities for the lower-income families, with aims to support more families with young children through the nationwide expansion of KidSTART and Community Link.

A national programme, KidSTART aids children aged six and below from low-income families while Community Link renders support to families with young children who are living in rental flats.

Foster families will have their allowances increased in the existing suite of subsidies, training and peer support, and childcare leave benefits.

Persons with disabilities will also be granted alternative housing and care models, and increased post-18 disability care and employment services through the Enabling Masterplan 2030.

Caregivers will be supported with drop-in respite care, a Future Care Planning playbook and community/peer caregiver support.

Nurturing our families

An initiative by the National Parks Board (NParks), couples can commemorate the arrival of their child by planting FamilyTrees within three years of their child’s birth date. To qualify for tree planting, either one or both parents must be a Singapore citizen and families should have a child under three years of age.

Other initiatives included in the plan are counselling and mediation support for familial relationships in ageing families and stronger legislative protection against family violence.

Enhanced services will also be rolled out at Family Services Centre to extend help to families such as Divorcing/Divorced Parents Support Groups, the Mandatory Co-Parenting Programme, and expanded child support programmes.

Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health Masagos Zulkifli said that MFF 2025 “cements our nation’s continued commitment to building a society that values and supports well-being”.

“We have made much progress in championing families at every stage of their lives, and will strive to do more,” he added.

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