Capabilities at Social Service Offices

MP Leon Perera

Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied): Mr Chairman, our Family Service Centres (FSCs) and Social Service Offices (SSOs) are intended to be the core nodes for social support. Our social workers are best placed to understand and respond to residents’ needs. Social workers help point residents to more specific assistance schemes, such as those for students.

I would like to ask if trained social workers participate in the decisions made by SSO staff. Such professional training should be brought to bear on financial assistance decisions, as opposed to taking a rigid schemes administration approach.

Also, would the Ministry consider centralising under SSO social workers all financial assistance schemes that are not sector-specific? This includes Community Development Council (CDC) cash assistance. Currently, I understand that residents have to approach both the FSC social worker and the CDC, going through means testing twice.

From the Parliamentary Questions I have asked, ComCare disbursements take four weeks, on average, or up to six weeks to disburse. CDC takes two to three weeks for COVID-19 grants and financial assistance.

The Chairman: Mr Leon Perera, can you please wrap up?

Mr Leon Perera: I would like to ask how long CDC takes for cash assistance to be disbursed and could all financial assistance be centralised at the systems level.

Ministry of Social and Family Development
3 March 2023

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