Making deputyship applications simpler

We thank Ms Betty Ho Peck Woon for her letter (More lenient approach needed in proving mental incapacity; April 18).

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and Family Justice Courts (FJC) are committed to making the process of deputyship applications more accessible and convenient.

This, while ensuring that the powers requested by deputy applicants are in the best interests of the persons with intellectual disability.

The FJC form for applications for appointment of deputies under the Mental Capacity Act was designed to capture essential information required by the Court to make the necessary decisions pertaining to the choice of deputy and the powers to be granted.

The information minimises the risk of appointing an unsuitable person who might misuse his powers and take advantage of the mentally incapacitated person.

The Assisted Deputyship Application Programme (Adap) was first piloted in March 2015 by MSF, FJC and the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds).

It is a customised initiative to simplify the deputyship application process for parents of children with intellectual disability.

From the pilot, we have been able to develop templates for parents to use.

With this, parents have the option to apply to the courts to be deputies without having to hire lawyers.

We have also worked with the school psychologists to weave mental capacity assessment suited for deputyship application into the school-leaving evaluation report for students.

These initiatives have substantially reduced cost, effort and time spent for deputyship application; and will be systemically offered to parents of each graduating cohort.

The MSF is also exploring extending Adap in five other special education schools, with more targeted to come on board by the end of this year.

The MSF is also examining how we can support parents whose children have already left school.

In this regard, Minds is looking to extend Adap to its beneficiaries at its Employment Development Centres and Training and Development Centres.

Timothy Pak
Deputy Director
Ageing & Extended Families Branch, Family Development Group
Ministry of Social and Family Development

Chia Wee Kiat
Family Justice Courts

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2017, with the headline 'Making deputyship applications simpler'. Print Edition | Subscribe