SINGAPORE - Over the next three years, $2 million will be pumped into the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Headstart Fund annually to strengthen support for low-income families with Singaporean children at PCF Sparkletots, which has an enrolment of over 40,000 children in about 360 pre-schools here.
The increase in funding will benefit 10,000 low-income families each year, said PCF in a statement on Wednesday (Oct 30).
The charitable foundation founded by the People's Action Party (PAP) in 1986 has since 2004 disbursed $3 million in total to help 6,600 families, providing additional support to parents with children at PCF Sparkletots, on top of government pre-school subsidies.
In addition to extra funding, the PCF said the eligibility criteria for the fund will be expanded from January 2020. The monthly household income ceiling will be raised from $2,500 to $4,500.
From next year, the fund will also cover families with younger children, from Infant Care to Nursery 1. It is already available for children from Nursery 2 to Kindergarten 2.
Families with children who have been diagnosed with special needs such as hearing or visual impairment, autism, and Down syndrome, will receive double the financial support with the fund enhanced.
They currently receive $100 a month up to a maximum of $1,200 a year.
At a PCF Sparkletots event at Goodman Arts Centre, Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo joined over 60 children as they participated in enrichment programmes such as glass and clay art, and a music class.
Speaking to the media later, she said that the fund was expanded following "very positive feedback".
Mrs Teo, who is also Second Minister for Home Affairs and chairman of the PCF executive committee, said: "PCF's mission has always been to give every child a good start in life through quality and affordable pre-school education.
"This enhancement of the Headstart Fund reaffirms our commitment, and is our way to ensure that all young Singaporeans can make progress together regardless of family circumstances."