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Action Plan for Strengthening Malay Muslim Families

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									               Action Plan for
         Strengthening Malay/
              Muslim Families



           50 • The Community Leaders’ Forum 2007 Report




Inside Text.indd 50                                        11/19/07 10:47:28 AM
           Background                                             Such families do exist within the                     difficulties leading to very complex
                                                                  Malay/Muslim community. If this                       and convoluted situations which
           Families in general do face                            phenomenon persists, a group                          cannot be resolved overnight. In
           difficulties. Some of these                            of Malay/Muslim families will be                      any society, we can expect some
           families face specific difficulties                    trapped perpetually in a vicious                      families which face difficulties.
           such as loss of employment by                          cycle of hopelessness and despair.                    The challenge is to reduce the
           the family breadwinner or having                       There are programmes in place                         number of such families by putting
           difficult teenage children. But                        to help such families. However,                       in place a comprehensive strategy
           there are also those that face                         there is evidence to suggest that                     to strengthen such families. This
           multiple difficulties. Some families                   despite the best of efforts by                        paper attempts to define the
           can manage on their own. But                           the Malay/Muslim community,                           phenomenon of dysfunctional
           there are other families that need                     this phenomenon continues to                          families within the Malay/Muslim
           help. If these families are not                        plague the community. Perhaps                         community, identify appropriate
           assisted, it can impact the healthy                    a more holistic approach may be                       strategies to help such families, and
           functioning of the families leading                    required. This is the case for some                   map out plans to implement the
           to them being dysfunctional.                           families that face a multitude of                     strategies for our community.



                       The community itself must make the effort to reach out to vulnerable families and
                      individuals, counsel and mentor them, be compassionate but firm when necessary,
                         and help them to get their lives back in order. This is the only way to break the
                                                           vicious cycle.

                                         Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
                           Speech at MENDAKI 25th Anniversary Dinner & Award Presentation


           Discussion                                             lead to other problems within the                     as parental problems, domestic
                                                                  family. Given the limited resources                   violence, neglect, financial stress
           Types of Dysfunctional Families                        available within the community, it is                 and worklessness. As a result,
                                                                  important that we define the target                   children in such families may be
           Currently about 5,000 - 7,000                          groups clearly.                                       underperforming educationally or
           Malay/Muslim families are receiving                                                                          drop-out of school prematurely.
           some form of assistance from                           One group that should be targeted                     Yet others may engage in negative
           both national agencies and Malay/                      for a comprehensive assistance                        activities such as teenage sexuality,
           Muslim organisations (MMOs).                           would be Malay/Muslim families                        join secret societies or may even
           Some of these families face multiple                   facing multiple difficulties, and                     end up getting married at a very
           and entrenched problems that                           especially those with young                           young age. A comprehensive
           require tailored and long-term                         dependants1 (or children of                           assistance programme would
           approach to turn the parents’ lives                    school going age). The number                         allow the children to stand a better
           around and raise the potential of                      of Malay/Muslim families facing                       chance of receiving higher levels
           the children. There are also families                  multiple difficulties tends to be                     of education and achieving better
           that have specific problems such                       a small subset of the group                           outcomes in life. With higher
           as lack of financial stability, long-                  of families currently receiving                       educational attainments and
           term unemployment, children not                        assistance. In such families,                         improved family situations, we
           in school and other problems that                      children may be disadvantaged                         may greatly reduce the chances of
           if not tackled early, can potentially                  due to multiple problems such                         these children falling into the same


              1
                  Dependants are defined as children below the age of 18 years old. This is consistent with the definition use by the Department of Statistics.


                                                                                                                The Community Leaders’ Forum 2007 Report • 51




Inside Text.indd 51                                                                                                                                               11/19/07 10:47:28 AM
           trap as their parents and having                        Table 1: Types of Families and Problems Faced by Families
           dysfunctional families themselves
           when they grow up. In effect, we
                                                                           Family Structures                                      Problems
           help to break the vicious cycle of
           succeeding generation of families
                                                                  	 Young Couples2                              Financial
           facing difficulties.
                                                                  	 Single/Divorced Parents                     	 Low-income3
                                                                  	 Incarcerated Parents                        	 Health issue
           The second group of Malay/Muslim
                                                                  	 Reconstituted/Blended
           families that should be assisted
                                                                     Families                                    Employment
           are those facing specific difficulties
                                                                  	 Intact Families                             	 Unemployed
           such as financial instability,
                                                                                                                 	 Skill training
           unemployment and difficulties
           with teenage kids. While these
                                                                                                                 Family
           families do not experience multiple
                                                                                                                 	 Poor relationship/Parents filing
           difficulties, it is not inconceivable
                                                                                                                    for a divorce
           for them to slide into such a
                                                                                                                 	 Parenting issues
           state as a result of some initial
                                                                                                                 	 Family violence
           difficulties. For example, chronic
           long-term unemployment for the
                                                                                                                 Youth
           sole breadwinner of the family can
                                                                                                                 	 Children involved in juvenile
           lead to their children being out
                                                                                                                     delinquency/beyond parental
           of school, the family losing their
                                                                                                                     control
           homes as they are unable to meet
                                                                                                                 	 Pregnant teenager
           the mortgage payments and so on.
                                                                                                                 	 Out-of-school youth
           Consequently they will face many
           more difficulties in the long term.
                                                                                                                 Education
                                                                                                                 	 Children performing poorly in
           Thus, the thrust of this paper will
                                                                                                                    school
           look at plans to help families facing
                                                                                                                 	 Children not enrolled in school
           a range of difficulties and especially
                                                                                                                 	 Financial difficulties
           those with young dependants.
           For greater clarity, it is useful to
           segregate these families into
           two groups – one facing multiple                                1873 Muslim divorces registered at Syariah Court in
           difficulties and the other facing                              2005. An estimated 2429 dependant children saw their
           specific difficulties. Also it is                                               parents divorcing.
           useful to identify family types that
           potentially can have difficulties.
                                                                            There were 485 Malay teen mothers in 2005 ; almost
           The table above is not exhaustive.                                              half of all teen births
           Nor does it claim that certain family
           structures are more prone to facing                                  Estimated 17,000 Malay youths without post-
           difficulties than others. Intact                                secondary education will enter the workforce in 2009.
           families have been known to face                                 MOM forecasted that the Singapore economy would
           difficulties too. However, a family                             only be able to accommodate 45% of jobs for workers
           with a missing breadwinner due                                             secondary education and below.
           to say, incarceration, has to cope
           with certain challenges different
                                                                                Half of Malay workers are earning $1800 or less
           from that of an intact family. And


              2
                  A young couple is one where one of them is below 21 years old. They include those who may not have a child yet.
              3
                  Low income is defined as those with net household income of less than $1,500 or per capita income (PCI) of less than $375.


           52 • The Community Leaders’ Forum 2007 Report




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           these challenges such as providing                     Existing Programmes                         The table below is a scan of the
           adequate financial support for the                                                                 various players at both national and
           family, if not dealt with properly can                 Currently there are many                    MMVS levels who are providing
           have adverse impact on the healthy                     programmes in place to help                 interventions to these families for
           functioning of the family. Hence                       families with difficulties. These           the various issues faced. There
           it is important to deal with the                       programmes are either delivered             are also many possible contact
           challenges irrespective of the family                  at national level or by the various         points where these families may be
           structure and recognising that                         Voluntary Welfare Organisations             identified either through national
           certain family structures can lead to                  (VWOs) including Malay/Muslim               agencies or the MMOs.
           unique challenges.                                     Voluntary Sector (MMVS).

                    Contact Points                                 Issues                                   Intervention Points4

                                                  Financial                                National
                                                  	 Low-income                            CDCs, NTUC, HDB Branch Offices, FSCs
                                                                                           MMVS
                                                                                           TAA Trust Fund, Jamiyah, Muhammadiyah,
                                                                                           Pertapis, MUIS

             National
             CDCs
                                                  Employment                               National
             Prisons
                                                  •	 Unemployment                          WDA, CDCs, SHGs, ITE, NTUC
             FSCs
                                                  •	 Low skills                            MMVS
             Juvenile Court
                                                                                           MENDAKI, AMP, PPIS, Pertapis
             ROMM
             SYC
             MUIS                                 Youth                                    National
             Inspirasi Centres                    •	 Teenage Sexuality                     MCYS, NYC, FSCs, Youth Agencies
             Schools                              •	 Juvenile Delinquency                  MMVS
                                                  •	 Out-of-school                         Pertapis, 4PM, AMP, YM, Al-Falah Mosque, Taman
                                                                                           Bacaan, Clubilya, MENDAKI, FMSA, Perdaus, Ain
             MMVS                                                                          Society, Jamiyah, Muhammadiyah, KGMS, APKIM
             4PM                                                                           Centre for Social Service (ACOSS)
             Ain Society
             AMP
             Clubilya
             Jamiyah
             LBKM                                 Family                                   National
             Muhammadiyah                         •	 Problematic Relationships/            CDCs, FSCs
             Pertapis                                Parenting                             MMVS
             PPIS                                 •	 Substance Abuse                       PPIS, AMP, Ain Society, Jamiyah, Pertapis,
             Taman Bacaan                         •	 Incarceration                         MENDAKI
             MENDAKI

                                                  Education                                National
                                                  •	 Academic underachievement             MOE, CDCs, ITE Alumni, ITE, NTUC, SHGs,
                                                  •	 Financial difficulties                Student Care Centres, SINDA
                                                                                           MMVS
                                                                                           MENDAKI, AMP, 4PM, Perdaus, LBKM


               4
                   Visit www.clfprojects.org.sg and www.mendaki.org.sg for details.


                                                                                                        The Community Leaders’ Forum 2007 Report • 53




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           Current State of Intervention at
           the National Level

           As mentioned above, there are
           many agencies that provide
           services for families with difficulties.
                                                                   Clearly, with better
           The Community Development
           Councils (CDCs) administer various
                                                              co-ordination amongst the
           government programmes and
           schemes to help needy families.                     various agencies, we can
           These CDCs serve residents across
           the five CDC zones comprising                     reap greater benefits for the
           Southwest CDC, Northwest
           CDC, Central CDC, Northeast                          families in need of help.
           CDC and Southeast CDC. These
           CDCs also administer a central
           COMCARE database of families
           that are receiving assistance.
           Under every CDC zones there are            to identify and link up with such         referral to FSCs for a more holistic
           Family Service Centres (FSCs) that         families.                                 intervention and assistance.
           are located within the community
           to make social services more               However, most of the programmes           There is potential for the existing
           accessible to the public. There are        delivered are not targeted at the         programmes delivered by the
           a total of 36 FSCs and each FSC            families as a whole and lack a            MMVS such as As-Salaam,
           is a neighbourhood-based focal             holistic approach. For example,           Inspirasi Centre, YIA and others
           point of family resources where            the Inspirasi Centres managed by          to be expanded/scaled-up to
           everyone can turn to on any family-        AMP and PPIS aim to help young            address the entire family members.
           related matters. They are run by           couples. However, it does not have        For example, PPIS’s programme
           various VWOs and supported                 the capacity to help the couples’         for single parents (As-Salaam)
           by the Ministry of Community               other siblings especially the             can be expanded or even
           Development, Youth and Sports              younger ones to prevent them from         franchised. PPIS’s experience in
           (MCYS) and the National Council of         following the negative footsteps          running such programmes could
           Social Service (NCSS). Other than          of their elder brother/sister (like       also be developed into training
           the CDCs and FSCs, MUIS, Syariah           being involved in teenage sexuality,      programmes to help in capacity
           Court (SYC), Family and Juvenile           dropping out of school, etc). Data        building for other MMOs. MMOs
           Justice Centre (FJJC), Singapore           captured by the Inspirasi Centres         can also adopt/adapt existing
           Prison Service (SPS), Rehabilitation,      also does not capture information         national programmes that have
           Protection and Residential Services        with regard to the couples’ families      proven potential to help families
           Division of MCYS also deal with            which may help in the long-term           facing difficulties or families at risk
           families with difficulties.                study to better understand for            such as Healthy Start and tap on
                                                      example why they were involved            national funding to extend these
           Current State of Intervention              in pre-marital sex. While Youth-          programmes to their beneficiaries.
           within the Malay/Muslim                    In-Action (YIA) and YIA Plus
           Community                                  managed by MENDAKI and various            There is also great potential
                                                      CLF partners help to ensure that          for other resources within the
           Within the MMVS, there are also            students who participated in the          community such as the mosques,
           MMOs which provide various                 programme stay in school, it does         Malay Activities Executive
           types of assistance to families            not look at the students’ families        Committees (MAECs) to work
           with difficulties. Although varying        and refer families with difficulties to   closely with FSCs to reach out and
           in intensity, these and many               FSCs for assistance. Yet through          help families with difficulties as can
           more organisations and services            these programmes, the agencies            be seen from these 2 examples:
           highlighted in Table 2 may serve           can be the contact points to
           as detection and contact points            identify families with difficulties for

           54 • The Community Leaders’ Forum 2007 Report




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           Example 1:                                           Example 2:                                       targeted, we propose a strategy
           Since early 2006, Pasir Ris FSC                      Singapore Children's Society-                    that is uniform across both target
           has established a close working                      Yishun FSC has also established                  groups. Families can face a range
           partnership with Al Istighfar                        a close working relationship with                of difficulties. As discussed above,
           Mosque. The mosque refers                            Darul Makmur mosque since                        a small number face multiple
           families who receive financial                       2005. In 2005/2006, the FSC                      difficulties while others face specific
           assistance from them to Pasir                        set up a booth at the mosque                     difficulties such as unemployment
           Ris FSC for holistic intervention.                   during the mosque carnival/family                and difficult teenage kids. A multi-
           Likewise, Pasir Ris FSC refers                       day. Both agencies update each                   level approach is needed where
           youths and families to religious                     other's programmes and activities.               families with difficulties are attended
           classes conducted by the mosque                      The officers from the mosque will                to accordingly. An example of
           to strengthen these families                         share information on the services                this multi-level approach is what
           bonding. The FSC also conducts                       available at the FSC to the mosque               we see in the health care system.
           workshops for children and parents                   congregation (jemaah) and their                  Those who need most help are in
           at Al Istighfar mosque for residents                 families. Those who require                      the acute hospitals. Once they
           residing within the constituency.                    assistance will go directly to the               have recovered to a certain stage,
           In fact, there is mutual sharing                     FSC. At the FSC, both Malay/                     they are then moved to community
           of volunteers. In addition, under                    Muslim and non-Malay/Muslim                      hospitals for rehabilitation and
           MCYS’s Family Life Education,                        workers will share the services                  integration back to society. Some
           Pasir Ris FSC partners with the                      and programmes provided by the                   may need short term treatment
           mosque based kindergarten to                         mosque to their Malay/Muslim                     at the polyclinic, while others may
           explore funding the preschool                        clients.                                         need day surgery with a specialist.
           teachers for their training.                                                                          This concept is called the wrap-
                                                                                                                 around care.
                                                                                     The close working
                                                                                     partnership                 At the core of this strategy is the
                                                                                     between Pasir               Social Worker (SW) who charts a
                    There is potential                                               Ris FSC and Al-             holistic intervention programme

                       for the existing                                              Istighfar mosque
                                                                                     and between
                                                                                                                 for families facing multiple
                                                                                                                 difficulties. Using a social work
                  programmes delivered                                               Singapore
                                                                                     Children's Society-
                                                                                                                 case management approach,
                                                                                                                 the SW identifies the appropriate
                  by the MMVS such as                                                Yishun FSC and
                                                                                     Darul Makmur
                                                                                                                 interventions for the families.
                                                                                                                 Social work case management2 is
                   As-Salaam, Inspirasi                                              mosque can serve
                                                                                     as a model to
                                                                                                                 defined as a method of providing
                                                                                                                 services whereby a professional
                  Centre, YIA and others                                             be replicated by
                                                                                     other FSCs and
                                                                                                                 social worker assesses the needs
                                                                                                                 of the client and the client’s family
                     to be expanded/                                                 mosques.                    when appropriate, and arranges,
                                                                                                                 coordinates, monitors, evaluates,
                  scaled-up to address                                               An Integrated               and advocates for a package
                                                                                     Strategy to Assist          of multiple services to meet the
                      the entire family                                              Families with               specific client’s complex needs.
                                                                                     Difficulties                Social work case management
                          members                                                                                involves the following steps:
                                                                                     From the above                   a Case Assessment
                                                                                     description of                   b Case Planning
                                                                                     programmes and                   c Case Implementation
                                                                                     families to be                   d Case Review/Termination.


              5
                  Definition is adopted from the National Association of SW (NASW) of the United States.


                                                                                                           The Community Leaders’ Forum 2007 Report • 55




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           It addresses both the individual           families with specific difficulties
           client’s bio-psychosocial status           such as unemployment, the
           as well as the state of the social         approach is to counsel the                   From the above,
           system in which case management            parent so that he or she can                 it is clear that the
           operates. Social work case                 gain appropriate employment as
                                                                                                   strategy is to provide
           management is both micro and               soon as possible. At the same
           macro in nature: intervention occurs       time, interim financial assistance           a continuum of
           at both the client and system levels.      is offered to the family while the           services ranging from
           The subject matter experts involve         parent look for employment.                  intensive
           during client-level intervention is as     Similarly, families with difficult
                                                                                                   case management
           follows:                                   teenage kids, a programme to
                                                      help both parents and child to               to short-term interim
                 a    Clinical:                       communicate so as to resolve their           assistance to families
                      Case managers,                  difficulties would be appropriate.           facing difficulties. In
                      counsellors, therapists,        With these types of families,
                                                                                                   effect, the strategy
                      supervisors and                 the support can come from the
                      administrators.                 community as the intervention                is to “wrap around”
                                                      does not require specific specialist         the family with a
                 b    Developmental & Support:        skills like that of a SW. Career             host of services and
                      Mentors, befrienders,           counsellors and youth workers are
                                                                                                   programmes aim
                      trainers and paid               the types of people needed to deal
                      volunteers.                     with these types of difficulties.            at different levels of
                                                                                                   family functioning.
           System-level intervention involves         The programmes offered to the                This strategy calls
           policies, schemes/grants by                second target group are similar
                                                                                                   for an integration of
           agencies, Standard Operating               to those offered to the first
           Procedures (SOP), evaluation and           target group while they are being            programmes and
           research. It requires the SW to            managed by the SW. Hence, for                services across
           develop and maintain a therapeutic         example, a MMO could be assisting            the entire chain
           relationship with the client, which        two families at the same time. One
                                                                                                   that seeks to help
           may include linking the client with        of the families may need short-term
           systems that provide him or her            financial assistance to tide over a          the family transit
           with needed services, resources,           difficult period, while another family       from unhealthy
           and opportunities. Services                is referred by the SW to the MMO             functioning to healthy
           provided under the rubric of social        for some financial assistance.
                                                                                                   functioning.
           work case management practice
           may be located in a single agency          Closing the Gaps – Improving
           or may be spread across numerous           Co-ordination and Outreach               helping to establish links with them
           agencies or organisations.                                                          in the continuous efforts to deal
                                                      FSCs                                     with Malay/Muslim clients. Thus, it
           The contact between the family                                                      is important that we establish links
           and SW will be over a period of            At the core of the strategy are          with the 36 FSCs so that they can
           time depending on the range of             the FSCs which provide holistic          play a better job in attracting and
           difficulties. The SW oversight of          intervention and case management         dealing with Malay/Muslim families.
           the family is needed until the family      to families facing multiple
           reaches a healthy functioning              difficulties. Clearly it is good         FSCs’ Understanding of the
           state. During the transition period        to have as many Malay/Muslim             Community
           to healthy functioning, these              families facing multiple difficulties
           families can be referred to relevant       to be served by the FSCs. This           The link between the FSCs and
           agencies within the community for          requires outreach to both the FSCs       the community cannot come by
           assistance.                                and Malay/Muslim families. We can        chance nor can we expect FSCs
                                                      assist the FSCs in their outreach        to develop knowledge about the
           For the second target group, i.e.          efforts to Malay/Muslim families by      community on its own. It has

           56 • The Community Leaders’ Forum 2007 Report




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           been well considered that cultural     cater to the families transiting from     one for the FSCs and the other
           sensitivities such as language,        the FSC and into the community.           for the community. MENDAKI
           religion and customs may be            For example the NUR Drop-In-              will take the lead in reaching
           occasional barriers to SWs. In such    Centres (DICs) provide valuable           out to the FSCs and developing
           a situation, subject matter experts    community support to parents and          training programmes for them so
           within the Malay/Muslim community      their teenage children. It is good        that they can better serve Malay/
           may be engaged to conduct              for FSCs to be in touch with the          Muslim clients. At the same time,
           training on cultural understanding     NUR DICs so that at appropriate           MENDAKI will embark on a training
           to SWs. Additionally, working          interventions FSCs can refer the          programme for key stakeholders
           within service boundaries, FSCs        families to the DICs. Hence there         within the MMVS about the role
           may be limited when families with      is a need for DICs to better co-          and functions of FSCs. Within the
           members dispersed across different     ordinate with FSCs within their           MMVS, MENDAKI can play the role
           boundaries have to be served.          midst.                                    of coordinating the various services
           Here, FSCs could be linked to the                                                provided to the Malay/Muslim
           various resources and programmes       With better co-ordination between         families with difficulties in ensuring
           in the Malay/Muslim community          the various agencies and service          that they receive assistance in a
           and service providers within MMOs      providers, families we serve can          holistic and effective manner. In
           may act as a link across service       reap greater benefits and proceed         addition to coordination, MENDAKI
           boundaries. By assisting the FSCs,     to recover from difficulties faced.       will work with training providers and
           we can ensure greater success in       The link between the FSCs and             make appropriate capacity building
           helping the families.                  the MMVS will also have to be             programmes available to MMOs
                                                  established and strengthened.             and social service practitioners in
           Community’s Understanding of           This requires co-ordination and           general.
           FSCs                                   outreach.
                                                                                            Proposal
           Within the community, there must       CLF Secretariat’s(MENDAKI) Role –
           be sufficient understanding of         Closing the Gap                           Desired Outcomes – Strong
           the role of FSCs so that we can                                                  Families
           refer Malay/Muslim clients to          Closing the gap between the FSCs
           the FSCs. To encourage Malay/          and the community requires two            The problems faced by families
           Muslim families to tap on FSCs         types of training programmes –            can be multi-faceted and these
           expertise, our community has to                                                  problems can disable the family
           be educated about the role and                                                   members from the ability to
           functions of FSCs. For example                                                   function healthily. As each family
           at the various contact points be          Strategic Thrusts                      with difficulties will require different
           it at the mosques, MMOs and                                                      set of interventions6, our efforts for
           so on, we need to create greater
           understanding and knowledge of            a Leverage on
           the work and functions of FSCs so           appropriate                             6
                                                                                                   For example, one of the cases handled
           that we can refer cases confidently.
           At the same time MMOs serving
                                                       national                                    by an FSC involves a single mother
                                                                                                   with six school-going children. The
           such clients can better integrate           resources                                   mother is illiterate and as such could
                                                                                                   not find a job. Her children age
           their work with the FSCs.                 b Align various                               between 6 and 17 years old are also
                                                                                                   very young and need her to be around
           Linking FSCs and MMVS                       effort within the                           at home to care for them. As such,
                                                                                                   the option for the mother to go for
                                                       MMVS to the                                 training to acquire new skills so she
           FSCs should also be linked to the                                                       can be empowered is not the best
           various community resources and             national efforts                            option for this case. Instead, the best
                                                                                                   solution for the family is for the social
           programmes. The example of the            c Close the gaps                              worker to advocate on her behalf
           mosque mentioned above is worthy                                                        for continuous financial assistance
           of emulation. Programmes to deal            within the                                  from CDC until one of her children
                                                                                                   has grown up and could find a good
           with specific difficulties should be        MMVS                                        paying job to support the family.
           linked to the FSCs so that they can

                                                                                      The Community Leaders’ Forum 2007 Report • 57




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           every one of them should serve to                   such as MCYS and other            detected. For example, SYC and
           strengthen the family and facilitate                related agencies that deal        Muslim lawyers are existing contact
           the healthy functioning of members                  with families with difficulties   points to identify and reach out
           of the family. Some characteristics                 should be identified              to Muslim couples undergoing a
           which indicate existence of healthy                 and marketed to the               divorce proceeding so that apart
           functioning in the family include the               community.                        from the couple, their children
           following:                                                                            too could be help. The agency
                a Children get at least 10                 b   We align the various efforts      managing these contact points
                    years of education and                     within the MMVS to the            can then refer the families to
                    enter post-secondary                       national efforts.                 relevant intervention points, which
                b Parent(s) remain employed                    Programmes within the             is the agency that provides the
                    and                                        MMVS that deal with such          intervention programmes to the
                c Family finances are stable                   families should dovetail to       families/parents/children. Please
                    with per capita income of                  those at the national level.      see Table 2 for the list of contact
                    more than $375 per month.                                                    points for the various types of
                                                           c   Close the gaps within the         dysfunctional families.
           Thus, our desired outcome is to                     MMVS.
           be able to identify and reach out                   Where appropriate new             Operational Framework
           to all the targeted families, track                 programmes and services
           them and ensure that they receive                   which are needed to               To improve the coordination of
           appropriate interventions to help                   support such families             interventions across agencies
           strengthen the families and facilitate              should be started within the      for Malay/Muslim families with
           the healthy functioning of members                  MMVS.                             difficulties and add further value to
           of the families.                                                                      the intervention, it is proposed that
                                                      Key Efforts                                we adopt the operational structure
           Strategic Thrusts                                                                     as in Diagram 1.
                                                      To realise the strategy of a
           The strategy proposed calls for            seamless and integrated assistance
           a comprehensive and integrated             programme, several initiatives
           assistance programme that                  are needed. Among the most
           straddle both national institutions        immediate are the following:
           and the MMVS which cater to                    a Improve the co-ordination
           such families. This integrated                      of interventions across
           programme is seamless and wraps                     agencies that deal with
           around the family as long as the                    Malay/Muslim families
           family is being assisted. In the ideal              facing difficulties.
           state, a family facing any difficulties        b Strengthen community
           can avail of any programme                          capacities and services
           within that integrated programme                    within the MMVS and
           irrespective where that family enters               national level to address
           into the system. Hence whether                      difficulties in Malay/Muslim
           a family enters from the FSC or                     families.
           any MMO, it will be assisted along
           the entire chain of programmes             Improve Coordination of
           and services depending upon its            Interventions
           peculiar needs. To achieve this,
           we adopt the following strategic           Contact & Intervention Points
           thrusts:
                                                      To identify and reach out to these
                 a    Leverage on appropriate         families, it is proposed that we
                      national resources.             leverage on existing contact points.
                      Resources such as FSCs,         These are points of interactions
                      programmes by agencies          where families with difficulties are

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                                                  Diagram 1: Operational Framework




           Roles & Responsibilities:               within the respective zone and           who reside near the mosque and
                                                   relevant government agencies such        community clubs and centres so
           Based on this structure, MMVS           as CDCs, schools, etc will make          that the mosques’ volunteers and
           will be linked to all the FSCs and      available their services to these        MAEC members/volunteers can
           other agencies located within           families through the FSCs.               visit these families and touch base
           the 5 zones, namely, Southwest,                                                  on their progress.
           Northwest, Central, Northwest and       Through the process of case
           Southeast. The Malay Members of         management, the family may be            Process:
           Parliament (MMPs) who serve the         seen by their SW at regular intervals
           constituents within the respective      within the year. In between, the         Through this structure, it is
           zone will serve as the Advisors.        SW may have recommended the              proposed that any family with
           The roles and responsibilities of       family to undergo specific activities    difficulties who is detected at any
           the MMPs are to provide advice          and programmes. Support                  of the existing contact point will
           and garner support from various         to the families in the form of           be encouraged by the agency
           agencies.                               encouragement, befriending and           managing the contact point to seek
                                                   mentoring is a crucial aspect of         assistance at an FSC where the
           MENDAKI which serves as a               intervention. Herein lies a great        family is residing and refer them to
           secretariat for the CLF will provide    potential for mosques and MAECs          the FSC. Upon receipt of a referral
           staff who will serve as Project         to play a role to add further value      from the contact point, the FSC will
           Manager for each of the zone.           to the intervention. The mosques         conduct case management and
           The roles and responsibilities of       and MAECs can work closely               alert the Project Manager who will
           the Project Managers are to build       with the FSCs to reach out to            ensure that information about the
           partnership with various agencies,      the Malay clients from the FSCs          family is tracked in the COMCARE
           coordinate case conference with         to making sure that they go for          database. This will enable the
           agencies, consolidate and analyse       the programmes which had been            Project Manager to track the
           data, and advocate for families         identified for them. FSCs through        interventions provided to the family/
           through relevant agencies. All          the Project Managers could provide       parents/children and advocate for
           VWOs including MMOs operating           a list of their Malay/Muslim clients     the families where necessary and

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           seek the help from the mosques/                 Table 3: Roles and Training Areas for Players who are Involved in
           MAECs to visit the families.                          Assisting the Malay/Muslim Families with Difficulties

           As part of the case management,
                                                                Players                      Roles                            Training Areas
           the Social Worker at the FSC will
           refer the family to appropriate             Project Manager        •	   Build partnerships                 •	   Nitec in social services
           intervention points (which may              (MENDAKI)              •	   Coordinate case conferences        •	   Certificate in counselling
           include those run by MMOs) for                                          with agencies                      •	   Introduction to case
                                                                              •	   Consolidate, analyse data and           management
           relevant programmes.                                                    identify service gaps              •	   Facilitation skills
                                                                              •	   Advocate for families through      •	   Interest-based negotiation
                                                                                   agencies                                skills
           Strengthen Community                                                                                       •	   Awareness of various social
           Capacities & Services                                                                                           services


           Training                                    FSCs                   •	   Conduct casework                   •	   Understanding cultural and
                                                                                   management                              religious issues of Malay/
                                                                              •	   Work with mosques, MAEC                 Muslim families
           To facilitate such referrals and add                                    and MMOs on support                •	   Conversational Malay
           value to the invention, it is important                                 programmes for the Malay/          •	   MMVS social services
           that the people who are involved                                        Muslim families
                                                                              •	   Sharing of cases
           are trained and equipped with
           the relevant skills at awareness,
                                                       MMOs                   •	   Work directly with families with   •	   Nitec in social services
           practice or diagnosis level to do                                       difficulties                       •	   Certificate in counselling
           their job. The people involved and                                                                         •	   Introduction to case
           their roles as well as the training                                                                             management
                                                                                                                      •	   Awareness of various social
           they need are listed below:                                                                                     services

           It is proposed that these training          Mosques/MAECs          •	   Befriending families with          •	   Basic counselling
           be delivered by CLF secretariat                                         difficulties                       •	   Interpersonal skills
                                                                                                                      •	   Facilitation skills
           in phases. Where possible, the                                                                             •	   Awareness of various social
           training given should be accredited                                                                             services
           or allows for accreditation tie-ups.




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           Scaling Up/Replication of Existing                          discussed above. It is                              every link or social service
           Programmes                                                  proposed that we start the                          outlet across the network is
                                                                       network efforts at different                        equipped with at least one
           As discussed earlier in this paper,                         CDC at different time/levels.                       key worker who is trained in
           there is potential for existing                             The rationale is that each CDC                      community outreach for Malay/
           programmes to be expanded or                                would have its own landscape                        Muslim community. CLF
           replicated within other MMOs. This                          of needs and resources. So,                         secretariat would initiate the
           will help to strengthen community                           ultimately the final pattern of                     training with an established
           capacities and services. CLF                                network that is established for                     provider. The aim is to ensure
           secretariat will lead in this effort to                     each CDC may look different,                        that every FSC, mosque,
           identify potential programmes for                           but their intent is the same.                       MAEC, MMO, CDC, etc
           scaling and replication.                                    This will give each of the                          has a person in each centre
                                                                       CDC the flexibility to explore                      (regardless of race/religion)
           Implementation Plan                                         distinctiveness and the CLF                         that understands the need
                                                                       secretariat’s role through the                      of Malay/Muslim community
           Phased Approach                                             Project Managers is to facilitate                   and is enabled to tap on the
                                                                       the prototyping process but not                     network of resources within
           It is recommended that we                                   to prescribe the final outcome.                     the community7. Alongside
           implement the above proposals in                            This approach also enables us                       the training, these key workers
           phases as follows:                                          to stagger the implementation                       would also be linked to a
                                                                       of the various initiatives for                      network of community services/
           a       Phase 1: October – December                         different zones/CDCs and give                       resources that they can plug
                   2007                                                a ‘safe-fail’ option to explore                     into so that the intervention that
           •       Understand the needs of                             new initiatives. The MMPs will                      they provide for Malay/Muslim
                   MMOs and resources within                           take the lead in steering the                       families can be more effective.
                   the community. To do this,                          prototyping and in so doing,
                   Co-Chairmen of the Family                           add in their own individual                    Budget
                   Development Network together                        influences as to how the
                   with the CLF secretariat will                       network evolves.                               A separate paper will also be
                   meet and engage the MMOs in                                                                        put up by the CLF secretariat to
                   batches for their feedback and                 Phase 3: January – June 2008                        determine the resources needed to
                   suggestions.                                   • Enhanced the linkages within                      implement the proposals and where
           •       Identify programmes that can                      the network through capability                   these resources will come from.
                   be scaled-up/replicated or                        building (for example by                         Where available, we will leverage on
                   need to be strengthened. CLF                      providing training to those                      national grants to fund them.
                   secretariat will work with the                    who are involved). For a start,
                   relevant MMOs to scale-up/                        training on community outreach
                   replicate programmes which                        can be given to ensure that
                   had been identified.

           b       Phase 2: December 2007 –
                   March 2008
           •       Appoint Project Managers.
                   This will be done by the CLF
                   secretariat.
           •       Establish the network of
                   support (both in terms of
                   structural and processes) to
                   operationalise the framework


               7
                   Note that this is not training them to be counselors or SW but rather to train existing counselors or SW and befrienders to be more effective in
                   community outreach.


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                                               Conclusion
                                               Through the implementation of these plans,
                                               families with difficulties can be identified,
                                               reached out to and helped to be resilient,
                                               self reliant and moved out of the cycle of
                                               entrenched difficulties. But this is a long
                                               journey which requires new capacity within
                                               the community, greater co-ordination among
                                               the MMOs serving such clients, a range
                                               of volunteers with specific skill sets and
                                               leveraging on national resources. Finally the
                                               families themselves must also see the need
                                               and value in getting the assistance and be
                                               motivated enough to work with the providers
                                               towards healthy functioning.




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                  AMP          Association of Muslim Professionals
                  CLF          Community Leader’s Forum
                  CCE          Community Consultation Exercise
                  CARE         Career Awareness Series
                  CDC          Community Development Councils
                  DIC          Drop-In Centre
                  DHKH         Dari Hati Ke Hati
                  ESS          Employability Skills Set
                  FEC/ AKRAB   Family Excellence Circle
                  FGD          Focus Group Discussion
                  FDN          Family Development Network
                  FSC          Family Service Centre
                  FJJC         Family & Juvenile Service Centre
                  GHS          Group Support Session
                  GHS          Group Household Survey
                  HOPE         Home Ownership Plus Education
                  ITE          Institute of Technical Education
                  JC           Junior College
                  LSP          Learning Support Programme
                  LTU          Long Term Unemployed
                  LWW          Low Wage Worker
                  MaPES        Mendaki Programme Evaluation System
                  MAECs        Malay Activities Executive Committees
                  MCYS         Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports
                  MMPs         Malay Members of Parliament
                  MMOs         Malay Muslim Organisations
                  MOE          Ministry of Education
                  MLE          Mediated Learning Experience
                  MTS          Mendaki Tuition Scheme
                  NASW         National Association of Social Workers
                  NA           Normal Academic
                  NT           Normal Technical
                  MMVS         Malay Muslims Voluntary Sector
                  NCSS         National Council of Social Service
                  NDR          National Day Rally
                  NUR          Integrated Programme for Troubled Teenagers
                  OSY          Out-of-School Youth
                  PSLE         Primary School Leaving Examination
                  PSG          Parent Support Group
                  PCI          Per Capita Income
                  ROMM         Registry of Muslim Marriages
                  SYC          Syariah Court
                  SPS          Singapore Prison Services
                  SW           Social Worker
                  SOP          Standard Operating Procedures
                  SSTI         Social Service Training Institute
                  Tiga M(3M)   Maju Minda Matematika
                  VWOs         Voluntary Welfare Organisations
                  WDA          Workforce Development Agency
                  YDN          Youth Development Network
                  YIA          Youth In Action


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