New task force should look at agencies doing similar work

I applaud the intention of the upcoming Uplift task force (New task force aims to give a leg-up to disadvantaged kids; Oct 29).

I do hope, however, that the authorities would closely consider the efforts of social service agencies already doing work in the identified areas.

Agencies like mine have long worked to effect systemic change via the various social micro-systems affecting disadvantaged children. We work very closely with schools, parents and the community.

Our efforts have sometimes been stymied by a lack of funding as the complex issues faced by the disadvantaged do not fall neatly within funding guidelines.

The proposed inter-agency approach holds the promise of tackling problems beyond silos and preconceived boundaries.

Perhaps a good starting point is to provide first for the best interests of the child, as guided by Article 3 of the United Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Dr John K. E. Tan

Executive Director

Children-At-Risk Empowerment Association

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2018, with the headline 'New task force should look at agencies doing similar work'. Print Edition | Subscribe