Debate on ministries’ budgets: Social and Family Development

Parliament: Help for those with special needs to live independently

The Enabling Village in Redhill is a community space dedicated to integrating people with disabilities into society. An update on the Third Enabling Masterplan, a multi-faceted initiative to improve the lives of these people and support their caregiv
The Enabling Village in Redhill is a community space dedicated to integrating people with disabilities into society. An update on the Third Enabling Masterplan, a multi-faceted initiative to improve the lives of these people and support their caregivers, was given to MPs in Parliament yesterday.PHOTO: PRESIDENT'S DESIGN AWARD

Two new work groups will be set up to help people with special needs live independently and improve their chances of getting a job.

One group will look at making it easier to access lifelong learning opportunities and employment pathways, while the second will assess how technology and design in homes and the community can help those with special needs live independently.

These work groups will involve people from the private and public sector, said Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sam Tan yesterday.

He told Parliament: "We must prepare our citizens with special needs for the jobs of today and tomorrow."

Mr Tan will co-chair both work groups, with Ms Denise Phua (Jalan Besar GRC) as co-chair for the employability one and former Nominated MP Chia Yong Yong as co-chair for the independent living group.

MPs were also given an update on the Third Enabling Masterplan, a multi-faceted initiative to improve the lives of people with disabilities and support their caregivers. The first masterplan was unveiled in 2007, and the second in 2012.

The third is focused on helping people with special needs and their caregivers across the different stages of their lives, said Mr Tan, who also noted the ministry's efforts in helping young children with developmental needs through early intervention.

 
 
 

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim added that more help has been given to this group with the reduction of fees for early intervention services. "From July this year, we will progressively offer enhanced programmes that are better tailored to the different needs of children," Associate Professor Faishal said during the debate.

Mr Tan said he agreed with Ms Phua's suggestion to create greater awareness of the Third Enabling Masterplan.

He noted that the ministry will deepen its engagement with stakeholders over the coming year, adding: "Together, we will co-create the hardware, software and heartware of an inclusive Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2019, with the headline 'Help for those with special needs to live independently'. Print Edition | Subscribe