Chan Chun Sing, Family

Budget 2013: $40 million to encourage a pro-family environment

Forty million will be set aside over the next three years to cultivate a pro-family environment in the community. The funds will allow schools and workplaces to run family life education programmes aimed at helping Singaporeans improve the quality of their family life.

Acting Minister for the Ministry of Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing announced this in Parliament on Thursday. In addition, the Government will now also cover 80 percent of the costs to run pro-family programmes in schools and workplaces instead of just paying for fixed speaker fees and refreshments as in the past.

The funds will be used under a new initiative called Family Matters! where programmes will be geared towards a national movement to look at areas such as relationships skills, marriage preparation, and work-life harmony. Programmes will also focus on issues pertinent to singles.

Currently, about 800 schools and 1,500 companies offer family life programmes. Besides more funding support for programmes, businesses keen on making their establishments more family-friendly for their customers can soon get more funds from the existing Business for Families grant to help them defray the additional staff training or infrastructure costs. Some $4 million has been committed to this grant.

Over the next year, MSF also hopes to increase the number of family life educators by ramping up training programmes for them. Those who have been trained will receive certificates in family life education which in turn, allow them to conduct this programme for others.