Reflective Practice

Reflections after 4 months of internship with Beyond Social Services
Author: Sean Au, (2014),
Ngee Ann Polytechnic  

4 months ago, I entered Beyond Social Services’ Office as a poly student fresh out of the course. I had all my knowledge, experiences and skills that I have learnt both in as well as outside the classroom. Polytechnic education prides itself on prepping their students for the working world, and yes I was prepared for work. Being able to write reports, do presentations and etc. But at the same time I wasn’t prepared in terms of hard/soft skills as well as how my expectations of social work were very different from the reality of it.

I didn’t know a lot of things before I entered Beyond Social Services; I now leave with more than just memories. Here are my top 3 takeaways...

Eleven Years On...

Author: Matthew Lo (2012), former Community Worker
Beyond Social Services,  

Having met 3 youth recently whom he had worked closely with eleven years ago, Matthew reflects upon their life journey and gets to understand a little bit more of how they got to where they are today. His thoughts are narrated down in a reader friendly manner, and it is reflections like these that inspire us to undertake a larger scale study to reconnect with our past service users, and understand their social and economic evolution.

Reflections after 4 months of internship with Beyond Social Services
Author: Germaise Tan, (2010),
Beyond Social Services  

"I came into Beyond Social Service excited, but it has been a journey of surprises, pleasant and unpleasant alike. I did not know what I was in for, but somewhere, somehow, I knew I am exactly where I want to be. I had no expectations as I did not know where I would be placed, and what kind of youths I would be interacting with. Being tossed between research, case management and community development, I was confused and overwhelmed for the first week. However, I was adamant on wanting to try working with youths. Eventually, I was settled into the Community Development Team. Still, I did not quite understand what that meant...."

The Kids United Home Prospectus: Uniting Families to Stand on their Own
Authors: Rapti Siriwardane, Kaisa Clark and Seah Pei Kwang (2009),
Beyond Social Services  

The Kids United Home is based on a small-group home concept and works towards minimising, as much as possible, the ill-effects of out of home placement. The programme adopts a three-pronged approach to healing and strengthening relationships: (1) family reintegration;
(2) resilience-building   (3) community-bridging. In sharing, and learning from best practices, within both the local and international context, Beyond Social Services intends to support the existing residential care system, by working collaboratively with state authorities and other community partners.  This prospectus outlines the efficacy of a small-group home with a necessary focus on family strengthening and reunification, and proceeds to map tangible steps that we, as a community welfare organisation, may adopt towards working in collaboration with MCYS and other significant stakeholders.
Towards the end of 2009, the KU Home was closed. 45 children benefitted from its programme, having been re-connected at least one of supportive family member. Of these 45 children, 32 were successfully reintegrated with functioning family groups and continue to reside at home. Our experience in running a small-group home marks a crucial journey in our learning, as we continue our work in preserving and strengthening families in the context of crisis prevention and post-care through our pilot programme - the Family Learning Centre. 

Keywords: Residential care; Family reintegration and reunification; Small-group homes; Child welfare  

International foster care and the Kids United Home: A literature review and comparison of residential homes worldwide
Author: Kaisa Clark (2008), Beyond Social Services

Over the past two decades, considerable research has been conducted to highlight the unintended harmful effects that foster-care arrangements and large-scale institutional settings have had on children.  Whilst large group homes were once the norm for children who were in out-of-home care, these institutions have now been restructured as smaller family-style homes in which children are better able to maintain a sense of normalcy over the course of their development.

This paper outlines key research done on the small-group home model, and proceeds to compare small-group residential home settings across different countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Sweden, among others.

Keywords: Residential care; Small-group homes; Child welfare

The conceptualisation and execution of a conflict resolution programme for the Streetwise youths
Author: Jerel Louie (2007), Beyond Social Services  

The report highlights some of the challenges faced in conceptualising and constructing a conflict resolution programme for the youth at Beyond’s diversionary Streetwise Programme. The conflict resolution initiative was sparked by a series of actions by the youth in the programme which were deemed as having a deconstructive outcome on the diversionary programme as a whole. The conflict resolution programme that was put in place comprises the following areas: Family Group Conferencing (FGCs), recreational activities, skills development training, academic and career guidance including case management over a period of six months.  The study documents our critical reflections in utilising some of the ideas and approaches we use such as moral reasoning training and strengths-based engagement.

Keywords: Youth work; Conflict resolution; Strengths-approach; Social capital; Rock and Water programme; Alignment techniques; Streetwise Programme  

The home-visit as an empowering experience ‘for at-risk’ families
Author: Pascale Paul (2007), Beyond Social Services

In discussing the merits of the strengths-based approach as opposed to a clinical deficit-centered one, the paper advocates for a community-based approach to everyday social work practice where the social worker, like their predecessors the hospital almoners of the Middle Ages, “go into the community.”  In this context, the classic home-visit, a ubiquitous aspect of social work, is reinterpreted as a way to enter the lives of the people we partner in ways that work meaningfully for the people concerned. Rather than perceiving at home-visits as an attempt to “check in” on clients, this paper offers a more nuanced vision of home-visits as an inclusive process that engages and empowers families that face multiple challenges.

Keywords: Empowerment; Problem externalization; Resilience; Strengths perspective; Creating win-win situations

The strengths model: Empowering clients to become champions of their own lives
Author: Stella Jayanthi (2007), Beyond Social Services  

The paper outlines the effectiveness of the strengths-based model in casework management, as it is often used as a powerful tool to encourage and empower people towards achieving their goals and aspirations.  In acknowledging the fact that each small step is nevertheless a significant one, the author frames the strengths perspective as an approach that challenges community workers to move beyond the traditional problem-solving paradigm that looks at ‘clients’ to be needy and vulnerable. The paper shares a set of principles and practices that helps us re-frame issues and perspectives in a way that gives back the transformative power to the people we partner. Through a rich variety of real life case-stories and personal reflections, the study reveals how a strengths-based perspective can be used to effect change in different contexts within our early childhood Healthy Start Programme.

 Keywords: Strengths modeling; Client dependency approach; Bridging social capital; Healthy Start Programme

The process and method of building meaningful partnerships in schools
Author: Annabelle Ip (2007), Beyond Social Services

Our juvenile justice team works towards nurturing and strengthening inclusive local school environments. In drawing attention to some of the shortcomings of merely depending on individualised, one-on-one engagement between youth and their teachers in the context of school-based social work, this study reflects on the reasons as to why we need to work towards fostering a real partnership between helping professionals, family groups and school systems. In using examples drawn from our participation in the Step-Up Programme, the study proposes using an inclusive model of school-based social work called the Triangle of Care in order to actively engage and bring school authorities in as partners that help strengthen protective factors in students’ communities. The paper details a concrete methodology and a process of forging tripartite partnerships that work for students, their caregivers and school authorities.

Keywords: School-based social work; Juvenile justice; Triangle of Care, SONI, Step-up Programme

Working with Reformative Trainees
Author: Myrle de Souza (2008), Beyond Social Services

Written as a training manual, this study documents some of our earliest work with youths at the Reformative Training Centre (RTC), by sharing on how we can be more effective by adopting a set of alternative approaches and techniques such as Moral Reasoning Training (MRT), individualized care plans, and adventure-based counseling. The paper posits a more holistic and community-centered approach to working with youth who are incarcerated. In asserting that post-care work starts from the very first day of in-care, the author proposes ways of engaging and working with families and support networks in order to strengthen the protective factors within the immediate communities that young people will return to, upon discharge.  

  Keywords: Juvenile justice; Resource acquisition; Moral Reasoning, Strengths assessment; Stakeholder engagement, Reformative Training Centre  

Improving Outreach and Support to Unwed Teenage Mothers in Singapore
Author: PromiseWorks (2004), a study commissioned by Beyond Social Services  

The report documents the research findings and discussion results between PromiseWorks and other social service agencies on raising awareness of pregnant teens in distress.  Statistics revealed that there were at least 250 cases of teenage mothers who carried their babies to term, whereas a further 1,200 pregnancies were aborted per year on average.  The study outlines a number of scenarios whereby girls in crisis could seek assistance, and in due course, come up with a safe and empowering resolution from each scenario.  The second part of the study draws attention to the current service gaps in attending to this social need. In consultation with a number of organisations including Pregnancy Crisis Services, Tanjong Pagar Family Service Centre, Rose Villa, ALife, Kandang Kerbau Hospital (KKH) and Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports (MCYS), the study proposes a number of measures that help redress these gaps, one of which, raising awareness among helping professionals and the public at large, remains a key factor. The recommendations in this study created the first spark that fired BABES, a consortium of seven community-based organisations that came together in February 2005, to support Singapore’s first dedicated outreach service for pregnant teens in crisis.

Juvenile Crime and Breach rates: Arresting the trends – Comments on Discussion Paper
Authors: Vincent Lim & Gerard Ee, Beyond Social Services (2004)
Prepared for the 13th Subordinate Courts Workplan 2004/2005 Juvenile Justice Sidebar Dialogues

The comments on this Subordinate Court Discussion Paper details our concerns and recommendations made on account of Singapore recent rising juvenile arrest rates.  It maps out an action plan on how to creatively engage marginalised youth at-risk with viable alternatives to gang involvement, school drop out and delinquency. In addition, the paper proceeds to offer alternative ways of managing minor and first-time youth offenders in Singapore by proposing that we critically look towards New Zealand’s array of institutionalised restorative practices as a viable model of diverting young people away from the adverse effects of criminal prosecution.  

The Family Learning Centre: A Therapeutic Approach for Low-Income Families with Multiple Problems

Author: Gerard Ee (1996), Bukit Ho Swee Family Service Centre, with input from Manfred Wu and Julianna Toh  (1996)

This report details the resources utilised and the findings of the pilot phase of the Family Learning Centre (FLC) executed from August 1995 to December 1996. As an NCSS-funded project, our first FLC was dedicated to providing specialised therapeutic interventions to low-income communities experiencing multiple challenges.  Its speciality, at that point in time, was a live-in family therapy programme conducted within a simulated home environment.
The report dispels the common belief that low-income communities are unmotivated to participate in therapy and operates on the principle that co-operative therapeutic relationships can be developed if the conditions are right. During its pilot run, the FLC operated within the Bukit Ho Swee Social Service Centre, providing intensive live-in therapy to four multiple problem families that were receiving practice help and generic social work interventions.

Findings and Recommendations, download
The Teo Family, download
The Oliveiro Family, download
The Gopal Family, download
The Awanga Family, download