As 2016 draws to a close, it is a good time to reflect on what has been done to give all children a good start in life, lay deep foundations to build strong homes, and strengthen the support for Singaporeans in need.
Supporting our young ones
(From visit to a pre-school earlier this month)
We want to help parents in their care-giving responsibilities, achieve the best possible outcomes for our younger generation, and foster a more inclusive environment for them to grow up in.
This year, MSF enhanced key policies and amended several laws, such as the Women’s Charter, where divorcing couples with minor children have to attend the mandatory parenting programme before they can file for divorce.
The Positive Parenting Programme (Triple P) has been expanded to 118 Primary and Secondary schools this year. The programme equips parents with skills to promote their children’s psychological, social and emotional competence, and over 80% of parents found it relevant to their parenting needs.
We’ve also launched the Safe and Strong Families (SSF) pilot programme to strengthen family-based care and community support for vulnerable children. Eligible families will receive counselling and coaching.
Making Singapore more accessible for all
(Checking out some of the enhanced family-friendly features at The Grandstand in August)
As a father with two kids, I know how challenging it is for parents with young kids to plan a family outing out. Families with elderly members or wheelchair-users face struggles as well.
To ensure that families enjoy positive experiences outside of the home, we provided funding to neighbourhood shopping malls to introduce or enhance their family-friendly facilities, such as family rooms and inclusive playgrounds. By this year, most of these malls have implemented their enhancements and received favourable feedback from shoppers. These malls have done a commendable job and shown their commitment and effort to make their premises safer and more convenient for different family needs.
Let’s get ready for the next leap forward
I think that my Ministry, together with our community partners, have taken small but significant steps forward. But this is really just the beginning and we do not intend to rest on our laurels.
Together, I believe we can do it even better in 2017, and make Singapore a better home for all families.