Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song (Aljunied): Many residents with moderate to severe disabilities require care provided by adult disability care facilities, like day activity centres, adult disability homes, adult disability hostels and sheltered workshops.
May I ask the Minister what is the current utilisation rate among each of these facilities and what are their staff-client ratios? How many individuals are on the waiting list for these centres currently? Based on publicly available information, I understand the waiting times, depending on centres, can vary from three months to two years? If there is insufficient capacity and inadequate staffing at these facilities, this can create a cliff effect for those with special needs. They would have been receiving care from special education schools, but have difficulty finding the same level of support after leaving school. As a result, their ageing parents often have to bear the full weight of caregiving and many worry about how their children will be cared after they pass on.
I would like to call for MSF to enhance its funding and support for the adult disability care facilities to be at least on par with what SPED schools receive. Such funding can help expand the capacity of care facilities and reduce their long waiting list. It can also go towards hiring and retaining more good staff, including Singaporeans with better pay and working conditions.
All this will help enable the centres to conduct more meaningful and effective engagement and training activities for their clients and lighten the worries of their caregivers. Besides improving the welfare of their clients, it will also give their caregivers much needed respite and allow them to be economically active if they choose to. This will produce both tangible and intangible benefits and returns for families, our society and our economy.
9 March 2022
Ministry of Social and Family Development