SINGAPORE: The social services sector is poised to grow and respond to social needs more effectively, with the new Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) dedicated to such issues to be established in November.
The new ministry, born out of the current Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), was established partly in response to Singapore’s changing society.
The social fabric of Singapore has become more complex as society grapples with issues ranging from problem gambling and divorce to the income gap.
CEO of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre and Nominated MP Laurence Lien said: "Singapore is in a social recession. I’ve mentioned about individual resilience coming under threat, families coming under threat. These are issues where there are no easy answers.
"Income inequalities have risen and quite often, the individuals and families face multiple issues, we need to improve the services serving those families."
The answers and solutions could soon come faster, given the spotlight that the new MSF will now cast on such issues.
The National Council of Social Service (NCCS) says the move to have a ministry which focuses on social and family development was well—received by ground agencies.
The sector is hoping to see procedures become more streamlined and the services extended to those in need become more targeted.
To achieve this, MSF should re—organise the social service sector and strengthen the social safety net.
CEO of NCCS Ang Bee Lian said: "We need to grow a broader social safety net that is more responsive to people who need help. We really need to grow the social service sector quite quickly. ... We need to really organise ourselves better, we need to also grow capabilities. By that I mean we need to grow organisational capabilities, both at the ministry and the ground agencies.
"What we hope to really see at the end of this whole reorganisation perhaps of the ministries, is that we want to be able to really help more people and help people better, want to be able to help people to use the help that is given to them in a more effective way."
Stakeholders also want to see greater strides taken to develop and keep families intact, as well as ensuring work—life balance.
Anita Fam, member of the National Family Council, said: I think in terms of intangibles in making families more resilient and I think in holding them together, it will solve a lot of the challenges we have, even the total fertility rate.
"A lot of families young couples are intimidated. They don’t know whether they have the bandwidth to support their children. They would love to have more children but they feel that they don’t have the time and they don’t have the energy. If we can create the added space for them to do that, I think it will be a job well done."
And that means finding fresh approaches and breaking new ground, in line with the overall effort to consult extensively.
MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC Indranee Rajah said: "People want a sense that the issues that they raise are genuinely considered and addressed. I don’t think people expect that 100 per cent of the time you’re able to give what is asked, but what people do expect is that if the answer is no, what are the reasons and to have a better understanding of that."
Member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for MCYS Ang Hin Kee wants the new MSF to look at measures to ensure better social mobility.
"There are emerging trends that we need to give attention to, for example single parents, reconstituted families, divorced families, Singaporean with foreign spouse and families where one or two parents are in prison," he said.
"In particular, their children should have support to access the same kind of opportunities that others have. These will ensure better social mobility, especially for future generations."
MORE SINGAPORE NEWS
Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn
The Africa Yoga Project has introduced yoga to Kenya as a tool for social change, training over 100 instructors who offer free outreach clas... More The Africa Yoga Project has introduced yoga to Kenya as a tool for social change, training over 100 instructors who offer free outreach classes in community centers, slums, orphanages and prisons across the country. Duration: 02:38
Date 2 hrs ago, Views 0