Parents of special needs kids to pay less for after-school care services

Parents of special needs kids to pay less for after-school care services

SINGAPORE: Subsidies for Special Student Care Centres (SSCC) will go up from July this year, announced Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sam Tan on Thursday (Mar 5).

SSCCs provide after-school care services and supervision for special education students aged seven to 18 years old.

These centres "are particularly essential for caregivers who need to work or care for other dependents and themselves", said Mr Tan in his Committee of Supply speech in Parliament.

Besides raising the amount of subsidies, Mr Tan said that the ministry will broaden the income criteria for means-tested subsidies so that more families qualify for fee assistance. 

The eligibility criteria for means-tested subsidies will be raised from a combined household income of S$4,000 to S$9,200.

Out-of-pocket expenses for these after-school care services, offered by the likes of AWWA and Rainbow Centre, will be lowered for most income groups, with reductions averaging between 30 per cent and 80 per cent, MSF said.

For example a family with a combined household income of S$4,000 will pay about 75 per cent less than what they previously did, down from S$582 per month to S$142 per month.  

CONSOLIDATING EFFORTS 

SG Enable, which is the agency known for handling the employment needs of persons with disabilities, will soon be the “single touchpoint” for disability services, said Mr Tan. 

The agency also provides disability-related information and referral services, and administers grants.

From October, it will take over the administration of disability programmes currently administered by MSF and the National Council of Social Service. 

This includes funding administration and management of services provided by special education schools, day activity centres, adult disability homes and sheltered workshops. SG Enable will also take the lead on disability public education efforts.

“The change will allow SG Enable to identify areas in services where there are gaps or overlaps, or duplicative processes,” said MSF. 

Last July, SG Enable launched a new website, www.enablingguide.sg, which pulls together resources on disability schemes and services, allowing persons with disabilities, caregivers and sector professionals to look for information more easily.

Source: CNA/rp

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