New child protection centre to open in Chua Chu Kang to deal with rising abuse cases

It will also help children struggling with trauma issues. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A new child protection specialist centre is slated to open in Chua Chu Kang next month to provide support and intervention to families and children who face abuse or severe neglect at home.

The new Heart@Fei Yue is the second community-based child protection specialist centre by Fei Yue Community Services.

Like the Heart@Fei Yue centre in Redhill, it will handle moderate child protection cases referred by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) that do not require statutory protection.

For instance, it will help support families where the parents may be facing financial stressors and use harsh punishment methods on their children, or do not provide them with adequate care.

It will also help children struggling with trauma issues.

The new centre, which was initiated and funded by MSF, comes as child abuse cases continued to climb after hitting a 10-year high in 2020.

"It is not just the rise in cases that we need to manage, but also the case type and complexity," said Ms Ng Sook Wai, principal counsellor at Heart@Fei Yue.

"The Chua Chu Kang centre will help to manage numbers and manage a quicker response in the north and west."

Its staff are trained in social work, psychology and therapy, among other disciplines. The centre will also have an art therapy room and a play therapy room.

For instance, it can offer parent-child bonding and home-based parenting interventions which may help parents who are struggling to handle their teenage children.

Social workers may get the family service centre and school involved to assess what is prompting challenges in the family, which could be due to work pressures, temporary financial setbacks, illness or injury.

In some cases, the child may have a learning disability but the parents do not know how to get help.

Ms Ng said that the centre will work on identifying the needs of the families, and ensure that its case workers and specialised staff are equipped to help specific case types.

Apart from the two Heart@Fei Yue centres, two Big Love centres in Toa Payoh and Bedok also handle moderate child protection concerns.

The fifth child protection specialist centre, Pave Integrated Services for Individual and Family Protection Specialist Centre in Ang Mo Kio, supports families with both family violence and child protection concerns.

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