Be sensitive when helping less fortunate

It is certainly important to level up income inequality, try to provide financial assistance to low-income families and help their children with upward social mobility through education (Redoubling efforts to help low-income, April 11; Help low-income families cope with GST hike, Feb 24).

It is commendable that when low-income families seek help at the government-run Social Service Office and other similar organisations, these agencies attempt to help the families with their financial needs.

They look at issues such as employment, child care needs and parenting skills, among others.

These agencies also look out for possible neglect of children and other forms of family violence, namely child abuse or spousal abuse.

Despite the good intentions, these attempts raise a concern: Are we discriminating against low-income families when middle-and high-income families with similar problems of family violence and child neglect would never be subject to these intrusions from social service agencies as they do not need financial help?

This embarrassing probing could put these applicants under a great deal of stress and may also hinder some of them from seeking help.

I hope practitioners in the social service field will be sensitive to the plight of low-income families and not add to their existing burdens and struggles in life.

Tang Siew Ngoh (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2018, with the headline 'Be sensitive when helping less fortunate'. Print Edition | Subscribe