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Two pilot programmes to support children from low-income, vulnerable families
THE Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will pilot a new system of support for children from low-income families and those who are vulnerable to enable them to have a good start in life.
The new initiative called KidSTART is expected to help 1,000 such children living in Bukit Merah, Kreta Ayer, Boon Lay, Taman Jurong and Geylang Serai in the first three years, said Tan Chuan-Jin, minister for social and family development, during the committee of supply debate on Tuesday.
The initiative starts in the second half of 2016.
Families requiring additional support will be proactively identified under the programme, and their children will have early access to appropriate health, learning and developmental support, the ECDA noted.
Another pilot programme will be launched to strengthen family-based care and community support for vulnerable children.
The ministry is introducing the Safe and Strong Families (SSF) pilot programme by December.
For a start, it will reach out to 400 eligible families and vulnerable children over three years, Mr Tan said, adding that the scheme will offer two services - family preservation service and family reunification service, which are more intensive and provide more targeted intervention.
Through the family preservation service, children who are at risk of being removed from their families because of safety concerns will be provided with intensive support so they can remain in their families.
For those kids who have been placed in foster or residential care, the family reunification service will enable them to return to their families.
Under this pilot, the ministry said that it will also introduce an evidence-based therapeutic programme - Functional Family Therapy - to aid families with more complex psychological issues.