MP Carrie Tan’s speech during the debates on MSF’s Budget
Although Comcare has helped many low-income persons and challenged families and is a critical social support programs. The number of families helped and the amount spent on Comcare has not reduced, in fact increased, since its inception.
It tells me that Comcare is not getting people out of poverty permanently. This is not a solution built to last. Without capacity-building of families on Comcare, it serves only as a band-aid solution that continues to deplete the country’s financial resources. We need a clear strategy to supplement Comcare, aimed at empowering families beyond surviving, to facilitate thriving and reduce recidivism back to financial support.
And to do this, we need more people who are well-versed in discovering and harnessing the assets and strengths of community, and to transform the current recipients of aid into active contributors in the community and also pave their way to higher employability.
I would like to ask if asset-based community development is the intended approach by ComLink, and whether there are plans to dovetail ComLink efforts with the National Jobs Council efforts?
I ask this because I see a ripe opportunity for the transformation of our social services sector. An opportunity to develop empathy and empowerment at scale, to better harness the strengths within our challenged individuals and families.
While I am grateful for the numerous Covid support schemes that have been given out so far, frontline administrators in our SSOs are over-stretched and inundated with the onerous but necessary task of administrative checks and gatekeeping. We need to help them out, and we can, by augmenting the sector with more personnel, trained professionally in asset-based community development.
With many professionals impacted by lay-offs and a surge in community spirit brought by Covid-19, we now have a pool of highly qualified people, who are seeking more meaningful careers that can be harnessed for the social services sector.
While I feel very encouraged by the announcement of the Community Capability Trust to help SSAs develop capacity, it will be more timely in complementing the efforts of the National Jobs Council if MSF can bring it forward to this year instead of commencing only in 2022.
I hope MSF can accelerate its support to the sector, and enhance ComLink’s efforts by appointing qualified Social Service Agencies with good track records to train mid-career entrants in community-building and asset discovery work. Trained personnel can then be hired and deployed through SSOs or grassroots organizations. This will help SSOs to enhance its function beyond administrators of support schemes and connectors within the community to become effective community builders.
With that, I would like to convey my high hopes for ComLink, and I look forward to more job creation in the social services sector, to enable the empowerment of Comcare recipients into a community that thrives.
Watch the speech here.