SINGAPORE: Temasek Foundation Cares will commit S$683,000 to fund a programme that will offer evening student care services for needy families.
The programme called CareNights is a collaboration between Morning Star Community Services and Temasek Foundation Cares. It targets needy families with per capita incomes or combined household incomes below S$1,000 and S$4,000 respectively.
It also offers free evening student care services for those who wish to pursue short-term skills upgrading courses or for those who have to attend to family emergencies.
The programme was piloted in July this year. Since then, 19 children from 13 families have been accepted into the programme. Most of them come from single-parent families who need temporary support for childcare.
Mr Richard Magnus, chairman of Temasek Foundation Cares, said: "We met parents who would like to upgrade their skills to improve their employability but are limited by their family commitments to take care of the children."
CareNights runs from 6pm to 10pm on weekdays for children between seven and 14 years old. Parents can enrol their children for a period of up to six months while they work on resolving the short-term challenges.
It was officially launched by Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin at the Morning Star Primavera Centre at Bedok North Avenue 4.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Tan emphasised the importance of intervening at an early stage: "When you look at a lot of the social issues - families with a lot of troubles and difficulties - when you trace it all back, oftentimes it comes back to a few recurrent themes. Families, having strong families, stable families especially in their early years."
He added that intervening and supporting vulnerable families at an early stage will help to raise the "probability of success" for these children.
The pilot programme will be implemented in three other Morning Star centres - Bedok North Avenue 3, Sengkang and Hougang - by 2018.