【国会发言】新加坡高级政务次长蔡瑞隆回复议员:低收入家庭可获7400新元额外婴儿花红计划,残疾人就业率将达到40%

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2024年3月6日,新加坡文化、社区及青年部及社会及家庭发展部高级政务次长蔡瑞隆回复议员关于提升版社区联系站计划的相关内容,包括如何帮助低收入家庭实现愿望,帮助残疾人就业和生活等方面问题。

 

以下内容为新加坡眼根据国会英文资料翻译整理:

主席:有请高级政务次长蔡瑞隆先生 

社会与家庭发展部高级政务次长(蔡瑞隆先生)

 

主席,在与来自各行各业的新加坡人交谈时,一个经常出现的话题是:”未来的新加坡会是什么样子?我们是否会成为一个更加关爱和包容的社会?新加坡能否成为一个低收入家庭有公平机会实现其愿望的地方,一个残疾人能够发挥其真正潜力的地方?新加坡社会及家庭发展部正努力与家庭和社区合作,以实现这些目标。

 

我最近见到了艾妮女士(Ms Aini)和瓦利先生(Mr Wali),他们是一对年轻夫妇,在2022年迎来了第一个孩子莱拉(Laila)。他们目前住在公租房里,希望能尽快买下自己的第一个预购组屋。艾妮希望重返飞机乘务员的岗位,而瓦利则努力将他对站立式桨板运动的热情转化为全职事业。

 

这对夫妇正在努力实现他们的梦想:实现他们的职业目标、买房并为年幼的莱拉提供一个美好的未来。但他们不知道如何才能实现这些梦想。

 

这正是像齐克先生( Mr Zeke)这样的社会及家庭服务部推动的提升版社区联系站计划(ComLink+)中的家庭导师用武之地。我们的家庭导师与ComLink+家庭一起,支持家庭的愿望。家庭导师会考虑家庭的独特情况、需求和优势,与家庭共同制定行动计划,帮助家庭一步步实现目标。

 

通过与齐克的讨论,艾妮和瓦利一致认为,家庭的一个重要而紧迫的目标,是获得稳定的工作。这将使他们能够偿还贷款,并为购买预购组屋存钱。在艾妮同意行动计划后,齐克为她联系了新加坡劳动力局的职业指导员。齐克还就如何平衡工作与养育子女的责任,提出了有益的观点和建议。经过一番考虑,艾妮和瓦利决定,当艾妮需要出差时,瓦利可以照顾莱拉。有人可以照顾莱拉了,她现在就可以安心地去当空姐了。

 

作为家庭导师,齐克正在为艾妮和瓦利提供黄玲玲女士所说的那种有条理的方法,以稳步为未来做出更好的决定。社区联系站计划(ComLink)的全国推广始于2021年。潘丽萍女士将很高兴地知道,我们的社会服务办公室(SSOs)和家庭服务中心 (FSCs),目前为所有21个市镇的10000个公租房的有子女家庭提供服务。我们现在正准备推行提升版社区联系站计划(ComLink+)谢曜全先生也将很高兴地知道,有了提升版社区联系站计划,我们将为多个项目提供综合支持,包括“幼儿培育辅助计划”(KidSTART),以及“提升”计划社区网络Uplift Community Network,简称UCN)和Dian@M3项目。我们将继续加强家庭导师的领导作用,协调各项目和服务之间的支持,让提升版社区联系站计划家庭得到全面、协调和便捷的支持。新加坡社会及家庭发展部目前约有120名家庭导师,我们计划再招募200名。我们还招募并培训了约1600名志愿者,与家庭导师一起工作。在志愿者的协助下,每名家庭导师预计将为25至35个家庭提供支持,并在初期每月至少与他们会面一至两次。(稍后的辩论更正为:每1-2月一次

 

在从社会援助向赋权转变的过程中,我们将通过提升版社区联系站计划进步配套提供资金支持,以认可和补贴提升版社区联系站计划家庭,在努力实现稳定就业、稳定经济、自置居所以及为子女提供良好教育开端方面所做的努力。

 

首个学前ComLink+配套将于今年下半年推出,随后我们将陆续推出其他ComLink+配套。

 

幼儿时期对儿童的学习和发展至关重要。三岁前入读学前班并定期参加学前班学习,将为莱拉的人生奠定一个良好的开端,并为她进入小学一年级做好更充分的准备。

 

因此,ComLink+推出的学前教育一揽子计划,将鼓励家长优先考虑子女学前教育的努力。具体做法是:ComLink+家庭中每名3至6岁的儿童,只要注册并定期参加学前教育,就可以在其儿童发展账户中获得高达3700新元的资金。这包括在孩子3岁那年,入读学前班时一次性充值到儿童发展账户500新元,以及孩子在学前班出勤率达到至少75%时,每季度充值到儿童发展账户的200新元。这些补贴由ComLink+的主要合作伙伴之一,新加坡星展银行提供。作为婴儿花红计划的一部分,政府还将为这些婴儿花红计划补充资金提供配比,这样,儿童可获得总额高达7400新元的婴儿花红计划补充资金。我想强调的是,父母无需提供任何资金。他们只需为孩子报名并定期送孩子上学前班。

 

随着莱拉继续接受学前教育,艾妮也将受益于为低收入家庭提供的学前教育补贴。严燕松先生会很高兴地知道,主要业者幼儿园为所有低收入家庭子女提供的全日制托儿服务,每月收费低至3新元。

 

如果莱拉在6岁之前一直在政府资助的幼儿园上学,那么ComLink+计划的综合发展援助计划的补助,不仅可以全额支付她的学前教育费用,而且她的综合发展援助计划中还会有充足的余额,可用于支付她的医疗保健和其他小学费用。

 

自社区联系站计划在全国范围内推广以来,家庭的良好反响令我们深受鼓舞,许多家庭都同意与我们合作。现在,我们已经准备好开始下一步计划:为公租房以外的家庭提供提升版社区联系站计划的支持。从本月起,在未来三年内,我们将把提升版社区联系站计划扩展到另外3000个低收入家庭中,这些家庭不在公租房条件内,但符合幼儿培育辅导计划或提升社区网络的条件。这些家庭面临着与提升版社区联系站计划家庭类似的挑战,也将受益于家庭导师的支持。

 

提升版社区联系站计划体现了我们支持低收入家庭的新方法,杨益财先生也提到了这一点。

 

首先,我们必须以家庭为中心。我们的家庭导师了解每个家庭的独特愿景、优势和情况,并与他们一起制定下一步的计划。他们还带头协调和整合了对所服务家庭的支持,让家庭有更多的空间来规划自己的未来和实现自己的目标。

 

其次,我们将从社会援助向社会赋权转变,帮助家庭朝着更美好的未来迈进。提升版社区联系站计划的目标是给家庭赋权,以实现稳定、自力更生并最终实现长期社会流动的成果(3s)。这有别于社会援助,后者虽能满足当前需求,但对长期结果的直接和持续影响可能较小。

 

第三,我们最大的支持来自我们的志愿者和合作伙伴。我们的提升版社区联系站计划合作伙伴遍布民众、私营和公共部门,他们为支持其他需要帮助的人做出了力所能及的贡献。

 

我们的主要合作伙伴,星展银行、新加坡游泳馆以及义安展私人有限公司,都为提升版社区联系站计划的一些进展方案提供了资金。例如,星展银行为提升版社区联系站计划学前教育和居者有其屋一揽子配套提供了超过3000万新元的捐助。

 

星展银行的许多员工也成为了艾妮的朋友,而新加坡游泳馆的员工也在各种提升版社区联系站计划项目中担任志愿者。我最近还认识了来自新加坡国立大学的学生林安索( Ansel Lim,音译) 和顾阿黛尔(Adele Koo,音译),他们都是艾妮的好友。今年是“欢庆义工年”,我想对提升版社区联系站计划的志愿者们表示衷心的感谢,感谢你们为与这些家庭并肩作战付出的时间和精力。

 

我们欢迎社区合作伙伴与提升版社区联系站计划合作,在有需要的地方提供配套项目,如债务咨询、金融知识普及、家庭作业督导和体育项目。通过这种方式,每个人都能为提高低收入家庭的生活水平做出贡献。

 

展望未来,我们希望提升版社区联系站计划能够支持家庭追求长远的理想。今后,我们将跟踪提升版社区联系站计划家庭在实现目标成果方面取得的进展,并与当地学术界合作,评估提升版社区联系站计划进步配套的效果。

 

艾妮面临的挑战并非独一无二。在每个社会中,不时会有人陷入困境。然而,真正反映我们社会道德水准的,是我们如何共同努力,确保没有人永远被困在最底层。当我们的低收入家庭努力为自己创造更美好的明天时,让我们支持他们,与他们并肩前行。

 

我现再谈谈扶持残疾人的问题。我想向潘丽萍女士和拉哈尤玛赞女士保证,我们正在努力,在推进2030残障服务总蓝图方面取得良好进展。新加坡协助残障者自立局(简称新协立)在推动广泛的合作伙伴,以实现我们的2030残障服务总蓝图目标方面发挥着关键作用。各位成员可以在新加坡社会及家庭发展部的网站上了解更详细的最新情况,正如潘丽萍女士提到的,可以在那里找到所有的详情。但今天,请允许我分享一些主要的工作和进展。

 

首先,我们希望增强残疾人的能力以实现他们的工作愿望:找到工作并保持就业。为此,我们采取以人为本的方法,提供一系列就业支持计划,以满足不同需求和能力的残疾人士。

 

2021年,新协立试行了入职培训计划(Place-and-Train)计划,雇主在培训安置给他们的残疾人士时,可获得高达90%的工资支持。通过入职培训计划,131名雇主已聘用了超过330名残疾人。我们将把该计划延长两年,到2026年再安置和培训200名残疾人。

 

去年12月,新协立在裕廊启动了首个包容商业中心( Enabling Business Hub),与雇主、培训机构和社会服务机构合作,为西部地区的残障人士提供物流行业的就业机会。裕廊包容商业中心的现场团队还提供长达24 个月的高强度就业支持,以支持那些有更高就业需求的人。

 

对有些人来说,就业之路是一段漫长的旅程。我最近见到了乐伟和他的父母。乐伟患有自闭症,经常情绪失控。毕业后,他加入了太和观残疾⼈⼠服务(THK Pan-Disability Centre)提供的烘焙就业课程“揉⼊爱⼼”(Knead With
Love)
,成为一名庇护工作室的学员。

 

团队为他提供了一个有规律的环境,努力了解乐伟接受指令的方式,并在他不知所措时给予他时间和空间。他学会了称量配料和擀面等技能,并在为他人制作美味面包的过程中找到了快乐。

 

渐渐地,乐伟能够更好地控制自己的情绪,并取得了很大的进步,因此他获得了在工艺教育学院Boon咖啡厅的工作试用机会。在试用期间,庇护工作室和就业指导师指导Boon咖啡厅重新设计工作。例如,Boon咖啡厅为乐伟的工作台贴上了个性化标签,为他的食谱标注了配料标签和步骤色标。咖啡馆员工还学会了如何与他沟通。他们用简单的词语和他慢慢交谈。通过这些努力,乐伟很好地融入了环境,几个月后,Boon咖啡厅为乐伟提供了全职工作。乐伟是Boon咖啡厅的第一位残疾员工,他的加入为咖啡馆后来又雇佣其他三位残疾员工打开了大门。我还品尝了他制作的一些糕点,不得不说,它们美味可口。

 

王华翰先生一定有兴趣知道,我们的庇护工作室提供了一个有组织的学习和培训环境,并得到了专职医疗人员和培训官员的支持。正如乐伟所展示的那样,这样的环境可以让那些有更高需求的人按照自己的节奏学习和发展,并有望最终实现就业。

 

由于对庇护工作室空间的需求居高不下,我们将增加500个空间,从目前的1700个增加到2030年的2200个。今年,我们将为特别需求者协会成人中心(APSN’s Centre for Adults )增加100个名额,其余名额将在未来几年内逐步增加。由于我们很好地使用了各种工作机会,我们将15至64岁残疾居民的就业率从2018至2019年的约28%提高到2022至2023年的33%,我们将继续努力实现到2030年就业率达到40%的宏伟目标。

 

陈浍敏女士和黄玲玲女士一样,我也感到欣慰的是,越来越多像Boon咖啡厅这样的雇主正在进行包容性招聘。这些雇主都获得了扶持标志(Enabling Mark)认证。根据2022年和2023年的综合劳动力调查,近一半的残疾人受雇于社区、社会和个人服务业、制造业和餐饮服务业。为扩大就业岗位,新协立正在接触新兴行业的雇主,如运输和仓储(包括物流)、金融和保险服务。我们呼吁更多的雇主成为包容性雇主,让更多像乐伟这样的人能够实现他们的工作愿望。

 

除了雇主,社区在帮助残疾人独立生活和感受自身价值方面也发挥着关键作用。在残障服务总蓝图中,我们承诺提供一系列支持服务,使残疾人能够在社区中生活。

 

对于无法工作的残疾人,我们的日间活动中心帮助他们掌握基本的日常生活和社区生活技能。到2030年,我们将增加500个日间活动中心名额,从目前的1800个增加到2300个。到2025年,我们将在新加坡智障人士福利促进会裕廊培训与发展中心增加50个名额,其余名额将在未来几年逐步增加。

 

去年8月,新协立在淡滨尼启动了首个包容残障服务中心Enabling Services Hub)。包容残障服务中心通过将服务和计划更接近残疾人之家,补充了现有的支持服务。我们希望通过与社区伙伴合作,创建包容性社区,加强对成年残疾人及其照顾者的支持,尤其是那些不再积极接受服务的人。

 

以我最近遇到的伊尔凡和他的母亲谢里法女士为例。伊尔凡毕业后不适合工作,只能待在家里。幸好谢里法与包容残障服务中心联系上了,包容残障服务中心让伊尔凡参加了他住处附近的各种活动。伊尔凡喜欢的一项活动是在淡滨尼地区图书馆做图书上架志愿者。他每周四都会去做志愿者。因此,每周三晚上,他都会穿上他的蓝色志愿者T恤,期待着第二天的志愿服务。伊尔凡还喜欢淡滨尼西社区俱乐部的社区健身活动,包括地掷球活动。这些活动让伊尔凡走出孤独,融入社区。

 

谢里法女士在一家快餐店上夜班,白天照顾伊尔凡。伊尔凡参加活动后,谢里法就可以在工作前得到一些短暂的休息。通过参加包容残障服务中心的活动,谢里法还结识了其他照顾者朋友,她知道自己并不孤单。迄今为止,首届包容残障服务中心已为140多名居住在淡滨尼和勿洛的残疾人和护理人员提供了支持。基于这一令人鼓舞的进展,我们将于2025年推出第二和第三家包容残障服务中心,一家位于东北部,覆盖榜鹅、后港、盛港和实龙岗;另一家位于西部,重点关注裕廊西。

 

我们希望包容残障服务中心能够支持更多像伊尔凡这样的残疾人,更重要的是,为谢里法这样的照顾者提供喘息的机会。我完全同意王华瀚议员所说的,我们有必要支持照顾者,他们担当着不可或缺的角色。事实上,这也是我一周前在预算案辩论发言中提出的观点。由特需者看护发起的互助组织关护之心(CaringSG)将与安老院和其他社区合作,加强社区和同辈的支持。

 

为支持残疾人及其照顾者进行长期财务和护理规划,特需信托机构(SNTC)已设立了1200多个信托账户。我们与穆拉里皮莱先生一样,希望更多的家庭能够设立信托账户,并利用特需储蓄计划,将公积金储蓄用于长期护理。特需信托机构将与包括新协立、特殊教育学校和社会服务机构在内的主要合作伙伴合作,向家庭伸出援手。

 

政府还将加强对护理费用的支持。对于那些需要点对点交通服务才能前往特殊教育学校和参加社区活动的人士,我们将从2024年4月1日起增加残障者交通津贴(Enabling Transport Subsidy),以减轻他们的交通费用。目前,约有5400名受惠人领取了交通补贴。增加交通补贴后,目前领取交通补贴的家庭中,约有40%可望减少10%或更多的自付交通费。

 

此外,黄循财副总理还宣布,我们将更新经济情况调查补贴的人均家庭收入门槛,让更多的家庭能够受益于残障者交通补贴。有效的经济情况调查结果也可以在各个计划之间共享,这样受益人就不必在一段时间内重复接受经济情况调查。这将有助于确保有需要的人仍能享受到我们的计划和补贴。

 

最后,加强残疾服务总蓝图致力于改善我们社会的物质环境,使它具有无障碍性和包容性。我们已经改善了公共交通和公共场所的无障碍环境;所有公交巴士和地铁以及几乎所有公共部门的建筑都可以让轮椅进出。

 

你我都可以通过微小但有影响力的行动发挥自己的作用,例如,关注那些需要帮助的人、多一点微笑、少盯着不寻常的行为看、关注他们的能力而不是局限性;因为我们可以共同建设一个充满关爱和包容的社会。主席,以下用普通话发言

 

许多公民都有同样的愿望,希望新加坡成为一个充满包容和关爱的社会,让每个人都有能力追求自己的理想。今天,让我来分享一下我们将如何支持低收入家庭和残疾人充分发挥他们的潜力。

 

首先,提升版社区联系站计划反映了我们通过鼓励行动和进步来增强低收入家庭能力的理念。我们的家庭导师通过以家庭为中心的方法,与ComLink+家庭一起工作。家庭导师将考虑家庭的情况、需求和优势,与家庭共同制定行动计划,以实现其目标。提升版社区联系站计划进步配套,在努力实现稳定就业、稳定经济、自置居所以及为子女提供良好教育开端方面,进行了认可和补充。我们将在今年推出首个学前教育提升版社区联系站计划进步配套,以鼓励家庭尽早入学和正常出勤。

 

除了部长提到的志愿者之外,提升版社区联系站计划的合作伙伴来自民众、公共和私营部门。我们的主要合作伙伴,星展银行、新加坡游泳馆和义安私人有限公司都为支持提升版社区联系站计划家庭慷慨解囊。

 

在“欢庆义工年”里,我要感谢提升版社区联系站计划的志愿者们,感谢你们在与ComLink+家庭同行中,付出的时间和精力。

 

我们还将继续支持残疾人,针对他们的不同需求和能力提供不同的就业支持计划。这包括扩大就业与培训计划和增加庇护工作室的容纳力。

 

除了就业,我们还支持残疾人独立生活,更好地融入社区。我们将增加日间活动中心的空间,并在今年晚些时候在东北部和西部推出两个新的赋能服务枢纽,为残疾人提供更多参与社交活动和学习新技能的机会。

 

对于低收入家庭和残疾人来说,对未来的期望往往被今天的负担所拖累。政府和社会服务伙伴从个人和家庭的角度出发,推出不同的服务模式,照顾他们各自的需要,鼓励他们发挥潜能。我希望全社会一起行动起来,创造一个充满包容和关爱的新加坡。

 

主席先生,我在演讲一开始就问,新加坡能否成为一个关爱和包容所有家庭的地方,包括我们的低收入家庭和残疾人家庭。艾妮、乐伟和伊尔凡已经向我们证明,我们可以。只要家庭尽最大努力实现自己的愿望,我们就能做到;当我们的社会服务合作伙伴和专业人士与这些家庭并肩前行时,我们就能做到;当雇主以包容的态度招聘时,我们就能做到;当我们的志愿者花时间和精力与我们的家庭和残疾人交朋友时,我们就能做到;当你我关注我们中间需要帮助的人时,我们就能做到。

 

这是我们在前进新加坡中提出的新社会契约。通过共同努力,我们可以创建一个充满关爱和包容的新加坡,一个人人都能进步、发挥潜能、实现抱负的新加坡,一个“齐心为了家”的新加坡。

 

新加坡高级政务次长蔡瑞隆回复议员:低收入家庭可获7400新元额外婴儿花红计划,残疾人就业率将达到40%

以下是英文质询内容:

The Chairman: Senior Parliamentary Secretary Eric Chua.

The Senior Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social and Family Development (Mr Eric Chua): Chairman, talking to Singaporeans from all walks of life, one topic that often comes up is, “What would Singapore in the future look like?” Will we be a more caring and inclusive society? Can Singapore be a place made for all families, one where lower-income families have a fair chance to achieve their aspirations, and one where persons with disabilities can fulfil their true potential? MSF is working hard with families and communities to make these statements a reality. 

I recently met Ms Aini and Mr Wali, a young couple who welcomed their first child Laila in 2022. They are currently living in a public rental flat and they hope to purchase their first BTO flat soon. Aini is looking to return to a cabin crew job, while Wali is striving to turn his passion for stand-up paddling into a full-time business. 

The couple is working hard to realise their dreams: to achieve their career goals, buy a home and provide a good future for young Laila. But they are unsure how they can get there. 

This is where MSF’s ComLink+ family coaches, like Mr Zeke, come in. Our family coaches journey with ComLink+ families and support their aspirations. The family coach considers the family’s unique circumstances, needs and strengths and co-develops an action plan with the family to help the family achieve its goals, one step at a time. 

Through discussions with Zeke, Aini and Wali agreed that an important and immediate goal for the family was to secure stable employment. This would enable them to repay their loans and save for their BTO flat. With Aini on board with the action plan, Zeke then connected her with a career coach at Workforce Singapore. Zeke also provided helpful perspectives and suggestions on balancing work with parenting responsibilities. After some consideration, Aini and Wali decided that Wali could take care of Laila when Aini needs to fly for work. With care arrangements sorted out, she can now look for a cabin crew job with peace of mind. 

As the family coach, Zeke is providing Aini and Wali with the sort of structured approach Ms Ng Ling Ling talked about, to achieve stability and make better decisions for the future. The nationwide rollout of ComLink started in 2021. Ms Denise Phua would be pleased to know that our Social Service Offices (SSOs) and Family Service Centres (FSCs) now serve 10,000 families with children in public rental flats in all 21 towns. And we are now ready to proceed with ComLink+. Mr Xie Yao Quan would also be pleased to know that with ComLink+, we will have integrated support across multiple programmes, including KidSTART, UPLIFT Community Network and Project Dian@M3. We will continue to strengthen the leadership role of the family coach to coordinate support across programmes and services, so that ComLink+ families can enjoy comprehensive, coordinated and convenient support. MSF currently has about 120 family coaches and we plan to recruit 200 more. We have also recruited and trained about 1,600 volunteer befrienders working alongside our family coaches. All-in, each family coach, aided by volunteer befrienders, is expected to support between 25 and 35 families and meet with them at least one to two times a month at the beginning. [Please see clarification later in the debate.]

In a shift from social assistance to empowerment, we will provide financial top-ups through ComLink+ Progress Packages to recognise and supplement ComLink+ families’ efforts in working towards stable employment, financial stability, home ownership and giving their children a good start in education.

The first ComLink+ Package for Preschool will be launched in the second half of this year and we will roll out the rest of the ComLink+ Packages subsequently.

The early years are crucial for a child’s learning and development. Enrolling in preschool by age three and attending preschool regularly will give Laila a good start in life and better prepare her for Primary 1. 

This is why the ComLink+ Package for Preschool will recognise parents’ efforts to prioritise their children’ preschool education. This is how it will work: every child between ages three and six in a ComLink+ family who enrols in and attends preschool regularly, can receive up to $3,700 in their Child Development Account (CDA). This includes a one-time CDA top-up of $500 when the child is enrolled in preschool in the year that he or she turns three, and $200 for each quarter that the child achieves at least 75% attendance in the preschool. These top-ups are funded by one of our ComLink+ anchor partners, DBS. The Government will also match these CDA top-ups as part of the Baby Bonus Scheme, so that the child can get as much as $7,400 in total in their CDA. I would like to emphasise that the parents do not need to make any monetary contribution. All they need to do is to enrol and send their child to preschool regularly.

As Laila continues her preschool education, Aini will also benefit from the preschool subsidies given to lower-income households. Mr Gerald Giam will be pleased to know that full-day childcare fees for children from all lower-income families at Anchor Operator preschools cost as low as $3 monthly.

If Laila regularly attends a Government-supported preschool until six, not only will the ComLink+ CDA top-ups fully pay for her preschool fees, there will also be ample balance remaining in her CDA that can be used for her healthcare and other primary school expenses. 

Since the nationwide scale-up of ComLink, we have been encouraged by the good response from the families, many of whom have agreed to work with us. And we are now ready to embark on our next move: to provide ComLink+ support to families beyond those in public rental housing. From this month onwards, and over the next three years, we will expand ComLink+ to cover another 3,000 lower-income families who are not in public rental housing and are eligible for KidSTART or UPLIFT Community Network. These families face similar challenges as our ComLink+ families and would also benefit from family coach support and the ComLink+ Progress Packages.

ComLink+ embodies our refreshed approach to support our lower-income families, something Mr Melvin Yong touched upon.

First, our approach has to be family-centric. Our family coaches recognise each family’s unique aspirations, strengths and circumstances and work with them to chart their next steps. They also take the lead to coordinate and integrate support for the families they serve, giving families more headspace to plan for their own future and achieve their goals. 

Second, our shift from social assistance to social empowerment, where we help families move forward as they work towards a better future. ComLink+ aims to empower families to achieve the 3S outcomes of stability, self-reliance and, eventually, social mobility over the long term. This is distinct from social assistance that serves immediate needs but may have less direct and sustained impact on longer-term outcomes. 

Third, our greatest support comes from partnerships: our volunteers and our partners. Our ComLink+ partners across the people, private and public sectors contribute what they can to support others in need. 

Our anchor partners, DBS, Singapore Pools and, most recently, The Ngee Ann Kongsi, fund some of the ComLink+ Progress Packages. DBS, for instance, has made a contribution of over $30 million – three zero million dollars – to the ComLink+ Packages for Preschool and Home Ownership. 

Many DBS staff have also stepped forward as Befrienders, while Singapore Pools staff are also volunteering at various ComLink+ programmes. Students like Ansel Lim and Adele Koo from NUS, whom I have also met recently, are Aini’s Befrienders. They play with Laila and organise outings with the families and in this Year of Celebrating Volunteers, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to our ComLink+ volunteers for devoting your time and energy to journey alongside these families. 

We welcome community partners to work alongside ComLink+ to offer complementary programmes where there is a need, such as debt counselling, financial literacy, homework supervision and sports programmes. In this way, everyone contributes to uplifting our lower-income families. 

Looking ahead, we hope that ComLink+ will support families’ pursuit of long-term aspirations. Going forward, we will track ComLink+ families’ progress towards the 3S outcomes and work with local academics to evaluate the efficacy of the ComLink+ Progress Packages.

Aini’s challenges are not unique. In every society, there will be those who struggle from time to time. However, what really reflects our moral fibre as a society is how we work together to make sure that no one is permanently stranded at the bottom of the barrel. As our lower-income families work hard to build a better tomorrow for themselves, let us support and journey alongside them.  

I now move on to enabling persons with disabilities. I would like to assure Ms Denise Phua and Ms Rahayu Mahzam that we are working hard and making good progress on implementing our Enabling Masterplan (EMP) 2030. SG Enable plays a key role in galvanising an extensive range of partners towards our EMP 2030 goals. Members can refer to MSF’s website for more detailed updates – as Ms Denise Phua mentioned, you might have to do a few clicks but you can find all the details there – but today, let me share some key efforts and progress.

First, we want to empower persons with disabilities to pursue their work aspirations: to get a job and to stay employed. To do this, we adopt a person-centric approach, providing a range of employment support programmes to cater to various needs and capabilities.  

SG Enable piloted the Place-and-Train programme in 2021, where employers receive salary support of up to 90% while they train persons with disabilities placed with them. Through Place-and-Train, 131 employers have hired more than 330 persons with disabilities. We will extend the programme for two more years and place and train another 200 persons with disabilities by 2026. 

Last December, SG Enable launched the first Enabling Business Hub at Jurong, (EBH@Jurong), partnering employers, training providers and social service agencies, to bring job opportunities in the logistics sector closer to persons with disabilities in the West. The onsite team at EBH@Jurong also provides enhanced employment support for up to 24 months at a higher intensity, to support those with higher job support needs. 

For some, the road to employment is a longer journey. I recently met Lek Wei and his parents. Lek Wei is autistic and often had meltdowns. After graduation, he enrolled as a Sheltered Workshop trainee with the Knead with Love bakery at the THK Pan-Disability Centre @ Eunos. 

The team provided a structured environment with routines, made efforts to understand how Lek Wei received instructions and gave him time and space when he was overwhelmed. He picked up skills like weighing ingredients and rolling dough and found joy in making delicious bread for others.

3.30 pm

Gradually, Lek Wei could regulate his emotions better and made such good progress that he secured a job trial at Boon Café @ ITE College Central. During this trial period, the Sheltered Workshop and Job Coaches guided Boon Café in job redesigning. For example, Boon Café personalised Lek Wei’s workstation by labelling the ingredients and colour coding the steps to his recipes. The Café employees also learned how to communicate with him. They speak to him slowly, with simple words. Through all these efforts, Lek Wei assimilated well and a few months later, Boon Café offered Lek Wei full-time employment. Lek Wei was Boon Cafe’s first employee with disability and he opened the door for the hiring of three more at the cafe. I also tasted some of the pastry that he made, I must say they were “yummilicious”. 

Mr Ong Hua Han will be interested to know that our Sheltered Workshops provide a structured learning and training environment, with support from allied health professionals and training officers. As shown through Lek Wei, such environments enable those with higher needs to learn and develop at their own pace and hopefully, eventually enter open employment. 

As demand for Sheltered Workshop spaces remain high, we will increase capacity by 500 spaces, from the current 1,700 to 2,200 by 2030. We will add 100 spaces to APSN’s Centre for Adults this year, with the rest added progressively over the next few years. Because of the good uptake of the range of work opportunities, we raised the employment rate of resident persons with disabilities aged 15 to 64 from about 28% in 2018 to 2019, to 33% in 2022 to 2023, and we will press on towards our aspirational employment target of 40% by 2030.  

I am heartened, as Ms Carrie Tan and Ms Ng Ling Ling would be too, that more employers like Boon Café are hiring inclusively. These employers are accredited with the Enabling Mark. Based on the Comprehensive Labour Force Survey for 2022 and 2023, close to half of persons with disabilities were employed in community, social and personal services, manufacturing and F&B services. To expand the jobs available, SG Enable is reaching out to employers in emerging sectors, such as transport and storage, including logistics; and financial and insurance services. We call upon more employers to be inclusive hirers, so that more people like Lek Wei can pursue their work aspirations. 

Beyond employers, the community plays a key role in enabling our persons with disabilities to live independently and feel valued. In the Enabling Masterplan, we committed to provide a continuum of support services that enable persons with disabilities to live in the community.

For those unable to work, our Day Activity Centres (DACs) help to equip them with essential daily and community living skills. We will add 500 DAC spaces, from the current 1,800 to 2,300 by 2030. We will add 50 spaces to the MINDS Jurong Training and Development Centre by 2025, with the rest added progressively in the next few years.

SG Enable launched the first Enabling Services Hub (ESH) in Tampines last August. The ESH complements current support services by bringing services and programmes closer to homes of persons with disabilities. Through working with community partners, we hope to create inclusive neighbourhoods and strengthen support for adults with disabilities and their caregivers, especially for those no longer actively receiving services. 

Take Irfan and his mother Madam Sheriffa whom I met recently as well, for example. Irfan was not suitable for work after graduation and was staying at home. Thankfully, Sheriffa was connected to the ESH, which engaged Irfan in various activities close to where they stayed. One activity Irfan enjoys is volunteer book-shelving at the Tampines Regional Library. He volunteers every Thursday. So every Wednesday night, he hangs up his blue volunteer t-shirt, looking forward to volunteering the very next day. Irfan also enjoys community fitness activities at Tampines West Community Club, including inclusive floorball activities. These activities have brought Irfan out of isolation and into the community. 

Madam Sheriffa works night shifts at a fast-food restaurant and takes care of Irfan in the day. Irfan’s engagement in activities allows Sheriffa to run errands or to have a much-needed respite before work. Sherrifa has also made friends with fellow caregivers through ESH activities and knows she is not alone. To date, the first ESH has supported more than 140 persons with disabilities and caregivers living in Tampines and Bedok. Riding on this encouraging progress, we will launch the second and third ESH in 2025 – one in the North-East covering Punggol, Hougang, Sengkang and Serangoon; and one in the West focusing on Jurong West.  

We hope that the ESHs will support more persons with disabilities like Irfan and very importantly, provide respite for caregivers like Sheriffa too. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr Ong Hua Han that we need to support our caregivers, who play an indispensable role. In fact, it is also a point that I made in my speech in the debate on the Budget statement just a week ago. CaringSG will collaborate with the ESH and other communities to strengthen community and peer support. 

To support persons with disabilities and their caregivers with long-term financial and care planning, more than 1,200 trust accounts have been set up with the Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC). We share Mr Murali Pillai’s hope that more families will set up trust accounts and tap on the Special Needs Saving Scheme (SNSS) to set aside CPF savings for long-term care. SNTC works with key partners, including SG Enable, SPED schools and Social Service Agencies to reach out to families. 

The Government is also strengthening support on caregiving costs. For those who require point-to-point transport to commute to SPED schools and community-based programmes, we will increase the Enabling Transport Subsidy (ETS) from 1 April 2024 to alleviate the cost of transport services. Currently, about 5,400 beneficiaries are receiving the ETS. With this increase, about 40% of families currently receiving the ETS can expect a reduction in their out-of-pocket transport fees by 10% or more.

Also, Deputy Prime Minister Wong announced that we will update the per capita household income threshold for means-tested subsidies so that more families can benefit from subsidies like the ETS. Valid means-test results can also be shared across schemes, so that beneficiaries need not undergo repeated means-testing within a period of time. This will help ensure that our schemes and subsidies remain accessible to those who need them.  

Lastly, the Enabling Masterplan commits to improving accessibility and inclusiveness in our social and physical environments. We have extensively improved the accessibility of our public transport and public spaces; all public buses and train stations and almost all public sector buildings are wheelchair-accessible.

 You and I can play our part through small but impactful actions, such as looking out for those who need a hand, smiling more, staring less at unusual behaviour and focusing on their abilities and not limitations; because together, we can build a caring and inclusive society. Chair, in Mandarin, please.

(In Mandarin): Many citizens share similar aspirations for Singapore to be an inclusive and caring society, where everyone is empowered to pursue their own aspirations. Today, let me share on how we are going to support lower-income families and PwDs to reach their full potential.

First, ComLink+ reflects our philosophy in empowering lower-income families by encouraging action and progress. Our family coaches journey with ComLink+ families through a family-centric approach. The family coach will consider the family’s circumstances, needs and strengths to co-develop an action plan with the family to achieve its goals. ComLink+ Progress Package recognises and supplements ComLink+ families’ efforts in working towards stable employment, financial stability, home ownership and giving their children a good start in education. We will launch the first ComLink+ package for preschool this year to encourage early enrolment and regular attendance. 

Besides the volunteers that Minister mentioned, ComLink+ partners come from across the people, public and private sectors. Our anchor partners, DBS, Singapore Pools and the Ngee Ann Kongsi have contributed generously towards supporting ComLink+ families. 

In this year of Celebrating Volunteers, I would like to thank ComLink+ befrienders for devoting your time and energy to journey with the families. 

We also continue to support PwDs, by providing different employment support programmes catering to varying needs and capabilities. This includes extending the Place-and-Train Programme and increasing capacity for Sheltered Workshops. 

Aside from employment, we support PwDs to live independently and better integrate into the community. We will increase the number of Day Activity Centres spaces and launch two new Enabling Services Hub in the North-East and West later this year, providing more opportunities for PwDs to engage in social activities and learn new skills. 

For lower-income families and PwDs, aspirations for tomorrow are often weighted down by the burden of today. The Government and social service partners adopt the perspective of the individual, as well as the family, by launching different service models to accommodate their respective needs and encourage them to fulfil their potential. Together, as a society, I hope that we can take action together to create an inclusive and caring Singapore.

(In English): Sir, I started my speech asking whether Singapore can be a caring and inclusive place for all families, including our lower-income families and those with persons with disabilities. Aini, Lek Wei and Irfran have shown us, we can. We can, when families do their best to achieve their aspirations. We can, when our social service partners and professionals journey alongside these families. We can, when employers hire inclusively. We can, when our volunteers take time and energy to befriend our families and persons with disabilities. And we can, when you and I look out for those amongst us in need.

This is our refreshed social compact that we set out under Forward Singapore. Together, we can create a caring and inclusive Singapore. One where everyone can progress, fulfil their potential and achieve their aspirations. A Singapore made for all Singapore families. 

 

 

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新加坡高级政务次长蔡瑞隆回复议员:低收入家庭可获7400新元额外婴儿花红计划,残疾人就业率将达到40%

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新加坡高级政务次长蔡瑞隆回复议员:低收入家庭可获7400新元额外婴儿花红计划,残疾人就业率将达到40%

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