Student care centre found to have made wrongful claims of fee subsidies

SINGAPORE - An after-school care centre for primary school pupils has been told to stop administering government student care fee assistance for new pupils with immediate effect.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) served notice to Welcare Student Care Centre on Tuesday (March 22) saying it found "multiple instances of wrongful claims for student care fee subsidies".

MSF said in a statement: "The ministry takes a serious view of these lapses. We have since referred the matter to the Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore Police Force."

The centre can continue to run as usual, as MSF found no issues concerning the safety or well-being of the students. But the centre cannot administer the government student care fee assistance for any new students, with immediate effect.

MSF said it will monitor the centre's subsidy claims closely during this period, and require it to work with the ministry to ensure that the claims are properly carried out.

 

Meanwhile, MSF has sent letters to parents with children enrolled in the centre, to explain the situation, and to offer support and assurance.

The ministry's notice of intention was served to centre president Gerard Michael. Welcare will need to explain to MSF, within 14 days, how the lapses occurred and the steps it will take to ensure that its processes are improved.

If the centre fails to provide a satisfactory explanation, MSF will revoke its status as a centre that is allowed to administer government student care fee assistance, the ministry said.

goyshiyi@sph.com.sg