Family service centers see record 20,000 active cases per quarter amid pandemic

SINGAPORE – Family Service Centers (FSCs) have seen an unprecedented caseload amid the pandemic, with 20,000 active cases per quarter compared to 17,000 before Covid-19 emerged in Singapore.

ComCare also helped 96,000 people last year, up from around 78,000 in 2019.

Minister of State for Social and Family Development, Sun Xueling, highlighted the growing numbers on Monday (November 15th) during a hybrid lecture commemorating the 40th anniversary of Care Corner Singapore at the Orchard Hotel.

Care Corner is a social service agency that currently provides services to over 21,000 beneficiaries, including children, the elderly and married couples.

Themed Forging New Paths, the conference brought together approximately 450 practitioners from the health, social and education sectors to discuss how agencies here could collaborate and share practice to address emerging challenges facing the Singaporeans.

Ms Sun said: “Social service professionals said clients appear to be dealing with complex, multi-faceted issues that have been made worse by the pandemic.

“At the same time, our support services in the community have also had to adapt to the constraints of security management measures and the reduction of face-to-face interactions with customers.”

She noted that the government and community organizations have stepped up efforts to intervene early so that families receive support before their problems escalate. Among these initiatives are the KidSTART program in preschools, which raises children from low-income families, and the Strengthening Families @ Family Service Center program, which combines marriage and divorce support and family counseling programs.

Citing the example of the Domestic Violence Task Force, which brought together several agencies, Ms. Sun highlighted the need for social sector organizations to share their resources and expertise and strengthen their service delivery to better support clients.

“The task force recommendations are a testament to the strong partnership between the various parties working together to address family violence. The Department of Social and Family Development will continue to work closely with community partners to implement the task force recommendations. work over the next few years,” she added.

Nine out of ten cases handled by Care Corner family service centers are people facing multiple issues, including stress related to caregiving responsibilities, domestic violence, chronic health, mental health or financial difficulties.

In a press briefing on the sidelines of the conference, Care Corner Managing Director Yap Poh Kheng said, “We are also seeing an increase in needs that are multifactorial and require a holistic systems approach.

“The approach must be systemic, which would require fundamental policy changes, and it must be intergenerational, addressing the root causes of cyclical issues.”

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