'Wrongful subsidy claims' for student care

A student care centre which aims to help hard-up families will no longer be eligible for Government subsidies after an audit found it had made a series of "wrongful" claims.

Little India-based Welcare has had its status as an administrator of Government student care fee assistance revoked as of Aug 1 following an audit by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

It found that the centre had made "multiple wrongful claims" for student care subsidies following the audit in March and referred the matter to the Commercial Affairs Department.

After serving notice of its intention to revoke the status, the MSF gave Welcare 14 days to explain the lapses and propose steps to improve its processes.

However, despite extending this deadline by almost three months. the MSF concluded that Welcare failed to make suitable proposals and explain the lapses adequately.

The ministry is now in the process of recovering the full amount of wrongful subsidy claims, though it did not reveal figures.

The move will take effect from Aug 1 to give parents adequate time to make alternative care arrangements, the MSF said yesterday.

The ministry is also in contact with parents whose children are enrolled at Welcare to offer assistance.

Welcare could not be reached for comment yesterday.

According to its website, the centre aims to "provide before- and after-school care for schoolgoing pupils aged seven to 14 who are from hardship families" and "provide care services to families of hardship pupils".

Sanjay Nair

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2016, with the headline ''Wrongful subsidy claims' for student care'. Print Edition | Subscribe