SINGAPORE: Youths who have been discharged from the Singapore Boys’ and Girls’ Homes will receive "post-care" support of one year, up from the current two months, for a smoother transition and better reintegration into society, said Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF) Desmond Lee on Wednesday (Mar 6).
Youths who have run into trouble with the law or those beyond parental control could be sent to these homes run by the MSF, which provide for their care and rehabilitation.
"Upon discharge from our MSF Youth Homes, youths may re-offend for various reasons - mixing with bad company, difficult family circumstances, and so on," Mr Lee said in his ministry's Committee of Supply speech.
“Some youths have shared that they are lost and at times not able to approach any trusted person to seek advice and assistance after their discharge from MSF Youth Homes," MSF added.
The lengthening of post-care support will help sustain and reinforce the work done, like skills learnt and habits formed during their stay at the homes, MSF said, adding that it also strengthens the connection with community agencies that were established while the youths were residing in the Homes.
“If issues arise, they can help these youth manage and resolve them early. The nature and intensity of support will be tailored to the needs of these youth,” Mr Lee said.
He added that those with additional needs will be referred to partner agencies for support.
The new system is expected to start later this year with 15 to 20 youth who are at least six months away from leaving. It will be progressively expanded in 2020 to include every youth discharged from MSF Youth Homes.
There were 106 new admissions to the Singapore Boys’ Home and 52 to the Singapore Girls’ Home last year, according to statistics on the MSF website, last updated in Feb this year.
PROTECTION FOR CHILDREN, YOUNG PERSONS
Statutory protection for children and young persons will also be strengthened, Mr Lee said.
Stakeholders are being consulted on proposed amendments to the Children and Young Persons Act, including proposed changes to the age for protection.
"It is important to ensure our partners are equipped to play their roles, and not unduly rush implementation," Mr Lee said .
Public consultations will run till mid-March and the amendment bill is expected to be tabled in parliament "this year or early next year".