Pathways to Academic Excellence for Students of Low Income Families

Author: Ng Xiang Long & Jessie Li, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (2014)

In this study, it was found that 63 percent of primary school children from low income backgrounds are failing at least 1 subject and 26 percent are failing 2 subjects. The high academic failing rate of primary school children from low-income families in Singapore is a key concern for Beyond Social Services. This study also seeks to investigate the factors inhibiting academic excellence for this group and suggests way in which the community and other stakeholders can help improve the situation.  

Evaluating the Success of the Community Engagement Component of the Youth United Programme

Author: Joanne Archana bala & Sim Siew Ee, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (2013)

Youth United Programme is one of the social programmes championed by Beyond Social Services to reach out youths residing or hanging around lower income neighbourhoods to curb delinquency, anti-social and other harmful behaviours among them. Social workers in the programme aims to be an adult friend that advocates for the youth to be engaged in community activities and contributing to the community’s wellbeing. The Youth United Programme serves as a resource that encourages the community to adopt restorative approaches towards the management of juvenile delinquency and other youth related issue. It is believed that, to be effective, Beyond Social Services has to continually cultivate partnerships with family groups, the residents, grassroots organizations, the police, youth-serving agencies and our larger community. This Policy Analysis Exercise aims to evaluate the success of the community engagement component of the Youth United Programme and see if Beyond's asset based model of community development has been successful.

Tackling Juvenile Delinquency: Enhancing Restorative Justice in Singapore

Author: Tan Wen Jun, Zhang Jialin & Faizan Rafi Hashmi, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy(2013)

This paper aims to examine Singapore law and social policies regarding juvenile delinquency and offences committed by young people, explores best practices in the field and to provide policy recommendations to combat juvenile delinquency and integrate youth in the community. The authors recommend the enhancement of Restorative Justice in Singapore through addressing legislation, increasing diversionary efforts and community-based restorative programmes to tackle delinquency.

The Life Situations and Experiences of Youth who were with Beyond in the 80's and 90's

Author: Samuel Tang & Anuja, Beyond Social Services (2012)

A retrospective study carried out to understand the current situations of youth who had been with Beyond Social Services in the 1980's and 1990's, to gain an appreciation of their experiences and also to find out how Beyond had impacted them. The study took the form of a structured questionaire and in an depth interview that could possibly signal that when a family has sufficient opportunities to move out of poverty. Additionally factors which contribute to moving out of poverty through building resilience and community support were assessed.

Singapore Youth Resilience Survey: Examining the Stressors, Risks and Resilience of Young People

Authors: Seah Pei Kwang & Samuel Tang (2011)

The Singapore Youth Resilience Survey examines the resiliency of young people in Singapore through protective internal factors, such as the sense of Belonging, Mastery, Independence and Generosity based on the Circle of Courage (Brendtro, et al., 1990) as well as external factors such as willingness towards at risk activities due to peer pressure and other stress factors.

Survey findings found links between the resilience, stress factors, emotions at home, willingness to try at-risk behaviors and social skills.  It also emphasised the need to foster greater resiliency amongst early adolescent teenagers, in order to help them cope with the stressors of their environment. This would not only reduce their vulnerability towards at-risk activities, but also provide emotional well-being critical to this stage of development.

Click here to read the Executive Summary.

Click here to read the Abridged Report.

Click here to read the Full Report (Complete with correlational statistical tables).

Use of Multiple Intelligence and Communication Style Inventory in group work with Troubled Teens
Author: Germaise Tan Jiang Ling, Ngee Ann Polytechnic (2011)

Many youth today in Singapore are not meaningfully engaged. This often leads to what society views as problem behaviors as the youth seek to get rid of this boredom and fulfill their need for excitement and change. With the aim of engaging a group of such youth, a 2 day experiential learning based camp was organised with pre and post questionaires on self awareness of Multiple Intelligences and Communications Styles administered to the camp participants.

Community or Colony: System Rationality, Lifeworld Rationality and the SONI Approach for Social Work
Authors: Gerard Ee, Beyond Social Services & Frank Früchtel, Potsdam University of Applied Sciences (2010)

Using Jürgen Habermas’ Theory of Communicative Action as a backdrop, the authors highlight the need to incorporate the logic of the lifeworld into social work practice. Habermas observed that society operates accordingly to either the logic of the system or that of the lifeworld. Social work practice runs the risk of being solely driven by the logic of the system and in doing so, creates the ill-effects of devaluing the strengths and resources of their clients and even excluding them from their families, friends, neighbours and the mainstream. They offer SONI as a model of practice that is built on principles and techniques that pave the way for the wisdom and values of the lifeworld to permeate the logic of the system. A case study illustrates how the SONI model operates in the fields of Structures, Organisations, Networks and Individuals.

Areas for child and youth-centered advocacy
Author: Beyond Social Services (2010)  
* Paper presented to the Governing Board of Beyond Social Services

This paper captures issues pertaining to the following areas:

  1. Children and youth offending
  2. Beyond Parental Control (BPC)
  3. Child protection

Whilst community workers reach the diverse stakeholders at the grassroots which include other child-serving and youth organisations, schools, businesses and other formal community partners among others, it necessary to engage key stakeholders at structural and policy-making levels. This paper outlines the processes in place and the type of advocacy needed at these different levels.  The paper presents a summary of cases which are complex and varied, and furthermore, serves as an introduction to some of the prominent concepts and philosophies within the social service sector.

Increasing the intensity of our work with multi-problem families: Beyond’’s proposed practice
Author: Rapti Siriwardane (2010), Beyond Social Services

The paper details why and how Beyond Social Services intends to intensify its existing work in family strengthening. Our experience in partnering low-income communities reveals that in order to work proactively in preventing crises from re-occurring or happening at first instance, we need to work intensively during the phases in between crises. We propose to put in place a more strengths-based and integrated approach to working with families struggling with complex, multiple issues. In particular, three core areas have been identified as constituting the essence of building family resilience. These include:

  • family economic stabilization;   
  • strengthening and expanding supportive family bonds;
  • connecting families with formal and informal community resources that also create opportunities for families to contribute meaningfully to their communities.

It proceeds to outline our concept of a live-in programme based on experiential learning for families for whom traditional methods of intensive case-management (for example, home-visits and counselling) are not effective and/or seen to be insufficient. The paper also maps how we intend to mobilise and maximise on existing services both within Beyond and those offered by our community partners in order create a one-stop programme for families known to us, and those we intend to partner in the future.

Keywords: Family strengthening and preservation; Experiential learning; Healing and conflict resolution; Reunification / reintegration; Community bridging

A Historical Overview of Family Rights in British Law Reform
Author: Samuel Tang (2009), Beyond Social Services

Starting from the Industrial Revolution in 18th century Britain, this paper charts the major historical influences and trends that led to an accompanying evolution of children law, with particular attention to how family rights are treated by legal-state structures. Through a comparative study of different countries starting with Britain, some of the common trends and obstacles faced in the development trajectories of children law have been identified, with the view of adapting ourselves appropriately to Singapore’s context.

Keywords: Children Law; State-society relations; Family rights

Consultation Paper with respect to the Babes programme and the Mandatory Reporting requirement under section 22 of the Criminal Procedure Code
Authored by the Babes Committee, Beyond Social Services (2009)

This consultation paper has been referred to the Ministry of Law and the Ministry of Home Affairs for their consideration.

Non-coercive, non-exploitative, non-commercial consensual underage sex between teenagers is a social phenomenon that is unlikely to be easily legislated away by way of punishing such behaviour.  Recent trends indicate an increase among young Singaporeans which results in an increase in Sexually Transmitted Infections and unwanted pregnancies.   Beyond Social Services has found and foresees that the legal duty under section 22 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the public to give information to the police of the commission of the seizable Penal Code offences of statutory rape (section 375) and now sexual penetration of minor under 16 (section 376A) has had and will continue to have a sizeable impact on our helping teenagers and their families in pregnancy crisis through the Babes programme. We observe that young persons and their families are less likely and less willing to seek and receive support and assistance when they are told that either their child or the child’s consensual sexual partner has committed a criminal offence that must be reported to the police.  

The paper puts forth several points for engagement including the need to legally treat young people differently from adults in view of their youth and vulnerability.  Bearing this in mind, and more so in view of the risk to the very life and well-being of the pregnant teen and her baby, the advocacy paper suggests that there is sufficient and “reasonable excuse” for social workers not to give the police information of awareness of the commission of an offence either under section 375 or 376A of the Penal Code in cases of unplanned pregnancies from consensual underage sex between teenagers. This is premised on the fact that as helping professionals, our foremost ethical responsibility is to protect the teenager’s life, safety and well-being.  It proceeds to suggest that the law remains as it is, and a diversionary programme be explored to divert young people from prosecution in cases of non-coercive, non-exploitative, non-commercial consensual underage sex.

Family Group Conferencing: our proposed practice
Author: Vincent Lim and Rapti Siriwardane (2004), Beyond Social Services

Family Group Conferencing originated as an indigenous practice to community based decision-making. It was first institutionalised by New Zealand in 1989, and despite the absence of specific reference to restorative practices at first, incorporates the underlying philosophy of restorative justice.  A Family Group Conference (FGC) is a voluntary, consensual decision making process that empowers the family group and extended support network of a child or youth to come together and resolve issues around child protection, discipline and/or juvenile offending.  Since 2004, we have adapted this restorative tool within Singapore's context by using this model to reintegrate young people with their natural support networks, and come up with viable plans that have enabled caregivers to heal damaged relationships and to come together to do the best that they can for their children.  This paper provides an insight into Family Group Conferencing and the key restorative principles underpinning it. It then proceeds to share on the more practical aspects of organising an FGC process.

Keywords: Restorative justice; Empowering families; Child protection; Juvenile justice; Community-based approaches to child welfare and juvenile offending

ART: An Anti-delinquency model
Author: Professor Frank Früchtel, University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, Berlin, for Beyond Social Services (2003)

In adopting a strengths-based approach to working with young people, we developed a community-based framework that present youth work as an ART of Advocacy, Resource Mobilisation and Talent Development/Training. In drawing upon two sociological perspectives, the Block Opportunities Theory and the Labelling Approach, we share an alternative model that looks at delinquency as a far more complex phenomenon that is primarily influenced by the interaction of personal and environmental factors in a young person’s immediate and extended community. In discussing how to understand the relationship between an individual’s primary, secondary and tertiary environment, the model shares a practical strategy and a set of transferable skills to working with young people and their communities.  

Punishing Costs: How locking up children is making Britain less safe
Author: Aleksi Knuutila, New Economics Foundation (2010)

Locking up children and young people for non-violent offences is costing the taxpayer millions, while doing little to reduce the amount of crime. This report presents new results on the full cost to society of the use prisons. It outlines a policy to change the pattern of public spending for a safer and more inclusive society.

Beyond Social Services, through supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Community Youth and Sports, the Singapore Juvenile Court and the police, continues to collaborate with community partners in strengthening diversionary measures that keep young people out of the criminal justice system using a community-based approach to restorative justice.   More recently, Beyond has been partnering the Singapore Prisons Service, particularly through its collaboration with the Reformative Training Centre by introducing restorative practices that creatively engage young people who are in care, whilst keeping them (re)connected with their caregivers and families. Whilst Singapore’s juvenile prison system is currently undergoing considerable change, Beyond continues to partner the RTC in exiting young people from institutional care as soon as possible, whilst meaningfully reintegrating them with supportive family members and extended community networks. 

Social Work – A Human Rights Framework
Jolovan Wham, Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (H.O.M.E), posted in The Online Citizen, Singapore (2009)

“What does taking a human rights perspective mean for social work? The paradox of the profession is that even though human rights are inherent in our mission, few social workers use this phrase in our practice vocabulary.”

The article critically questions the role played by Singapore’s social workers today with respect to issues concerning social justice. It demystifies the concept of human rights and dispels the myth that rights-based discourse should often be linked to debates underpinning ideology and formal political systems. By expanding on why helping professionals are in the best position to raise awareness on social issues and influence policymakers, the article argues for the need to mainstream the concept of human rights in the training and practice of social workers who, more often than not, ought to appreciate that the very challenges faced by their clients are often inextricably bound to issues concerning rights. The author proceeds to explain why Singapore’s social workers may often find themselves playing the role of a social administrator rather than that of a social advocate. This paradox, he argues, is borne partly as a result of the existing division between micro and macro-level policy, advocacy and direct service provision.   In unpacking some of the quandaries that social workers and particularly their institutional peers find themselves locked into, the author, in drawing on his experience as a social worker, shares on how using particular advocacy tools from mainstream media to closed-door dialogue sessions with policymakers, can affect real and meaningful change given Singapore’s gradually changing political climate.  

Keywords: Human rights; Social advocacy; Social work practice 

From Clients to Citizens: Asset-Based Community Development as a Strategy for Community-driven Development
Authors: Alison Mathie & Gord Cunningham, Coady International Institute, St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, Canada (2002)

Asset-based Community Development (ABCD) is presented as an alternative to needs-based  and deficit-centered approach to social development. Following an overview of the principles and practice of ABCD, five major elements of the ABCD model are examined in the light of current literature on relevant research and practice. This involves exploring:  1)the theory and practice of appreciative inquiry        2) the concept of social capital as an asset for community development;   3) the theory of community economic development, such as the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA);     4) lessons learnt from two decades of international development in the participatory paradigm and; 5) the theory and practice of building active citizenship engagement and a stronger civil society.  How ABCD both reflects recent trends in these areas and stands to benefit from the insights generated from this work is outlined. 

Keywords: Social capital; Economic community development; Participatory development