subpage-banner
shadow

Seminars

2018

Decision-Making Processes of Low-Income Single Mothers in Singapore

Presenters:
Ms Ho Kah Yoke

Moderator:
Dr Robyn Tan

Time: 4:00pm to 5:30pm (Registration starts at 3.45pm)

Venue: FASS Dean’s Office Seminar Room B, AS7-01-16/17/18, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, National University of Singapore
Address: 5 Arts Link (S)117570

Abstract:
Over the past two decades, the total number of single parents with children has increased by close to 30%. In the face of growing pressure on the definition of the family, the government has continued to reiterate that policy responses should not encourage single-parenthood as a lifestyle and risk eroding societal values. Key policy debates thus revolve around the differentiated benefits for different groups of single parents, and the perceived fairness of these arrangements.

The accounts of these single mothers show how they learnt different ways of coping with struggles that accompany single parenthood. While their experience of learning to manage resources are potentially empowering, they tended to be more time- and cash-poor, and the quality of their decisions suffered due to the multiple barriers they needed to overcome to meet their basic needs.

Our findings suggest that it is, therefore, worth considering if policy stances and targeted interventions could be implemented to support low-income single parent households with better chances of starting anew, because this would have impact on the children from these families.

Presenters' profile:

Ho Kah Yoke - Kah Yoke has been a social worker with @27 Family Service Centre, a service by Montfort Care, for the past 3 years. Prior to this, she had several years of experience in youth work and child protective work settings. She graduated from NUS with Bachelor of Social Sciences in Social Work (with Honours) in 2011, and had since been keenly interested in issues relating to households with low-income and struggles which they face.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED


For enquiries, please contact Ms Jess Tan


International Day for the Eradication of Poverty - Education and Housing: The Road to Social Mobility?

Presenters:
Ms Siti Arifah Binte Shaik Abdul Kadir
Mr Indra Putra Kamsan
Ms Nina Alisa Binte Kamsan
Mr Daryl Tan Jinn Wen
Mr Chong Yen Kiat

Moderator:
Professor Chua Beng Huat

Time: 4:00pm to 5:30pm (Registration starts at 3.45pm)

Venue: FASS Dean’s Office Seminar Room B, AS7-01-16/17/18, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, National University of Singapore
Address: 5 Arts Link (S)117570

Abstract:
In our local context, education has often been considered a social leveller, while home ownership is supported through various schemes as a means of asset building. Educational outcomes and home ownership have hence been highlighted as ways to improve social mobility for low-income families; however, they often face challenges that require more than just motivation and resilience to overcome.

As part of our work in supporting families to break out of poverty, South Central Community Family Service Centre (SCC) embarked on research pieces in both education and home ownership to inform our initiatives in these areas. What are the ingredients that matter most in the educational journeys of students who have overcome the odds? How do families cope with the transition from rental to purchased flats, and what lessons have they learnt? Finally, how can such research make a difference to the communities we work with?

At this presentation, we will share our findings on journeys of education and home ownership, how research was made applicable for the community, and evidence-based recommendations for social service practitioners. In line with SCC’s belief of empowering communities, there will also be community members present as part of a panel to share experiences from the ground.

Presenters' profile:

Siti Arifah - A capable mother of four who recently purchased her own flat. She currently works as a Social Work Assistant and has a memory that could rival a computer’s, making her a valuable asset.

Indra and Alisa - A brother-sister pair who both made their way to the ‘A’ levels against all odds. Indra will be pursuing Chemistry in NUS after completing his National Service, while Alisa aspires to be a Mathematics teacher in future.

Daryl and Yen Kiat - form a group of researchers from SCC who treasure the power of evidence to inform and support the work. Between themselves, their research interests include attitudes towards poverty, the role of the community in poverty transformation, and evaluation of initiatives targeted at improving outcomes for low-income families such as education, housing, employment, healthcare and their contribution to the community.

Social Work Honours Student Seminar 2018

Presenters:
Ms Chew Wei Ting
Ms Melissa Choo Hui Hong
Ms Carene Lee Ting Wei
Ms Celine Tham Yi Xin
Ms Flora Tan Chunxiu
Mr David Puvaneyshwaran S/O Kunasekaran

Time: 2:30pm to 5:45pm (Registration starts at 2:00pm)

Venue: Lecture Theatre 12, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore
Address: 10 Kent Ridge Crescent (S)119260

About:
This seminar showcases research by Social Work Honours students and covers two major themes – Caregiving and Youth work. Panel 1 explores the perspectives and experiences of caregivers while Panel 2 sheds light on how to better engage youths in Singapore

Abstracts:
Chew Wei Ting | Caregiver Stress and Coping of Foreign Domestic Workers Caring for Older Adults with Dementia
An increasing number of Singaporeans turn to Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) for caregiving support. Yet, little is known about caregiver stress and coping from the perspective of FDWs. This, coupled with the reality of possible caregiver stress and burden experienced by the FDWs as they assume caregiving duties prompted this study. The purpose of this study is to explore the stress and coping of FDWs caring for Older Adults with Dementia (OAWDs), to provide insights and information on the support that can be rendered. This study adopted a mixed method approach of cross-sectional quantitative survey and qualitative interview. A sample size of 32 FDWs for the survey and 5 FDWs for the interviews were obtained. Analysis of data revealed more FDWs to be in the lower stress category and are coping relatively well. This study revealed that perceived self-efficacy of caring for OAWDs and worries with regards to home country were predictors of stress levels while the frequency of Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) of OAWDs predicts FDWs’ coping levels. Statistically, the quantity of social support was not found to be significantly associated with stress and/or coping, an unexpected finding which can be explored in further research. Recommendations were then made at the end of this paper to engage employers, healthcare institutions and employment agencies in providing a conducive caregiving environment for the FDWs, to reduce their caregiver stress and improve their coping.

Melissa Choo Hui Hong | Siblings’ Voices Heard: Exploring the Caregiving Experiences of Siblings of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities
As compared to the research done on the caregiving experiences of parent caregivers of PWID, fewer studies have explored the caregiving experiences of sibling caregivers, in particularly those who are adolescents. Considering the life-long significance of sibling relationships, it is helpful to gain insights on the experiences of sibling caregivers who are likely to assume primary caregiving roles of their sibling with intellectual disabilities in the future and recognize their challenges faced. Incorporating Pearlin’s Caregiving Stress Process Model, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory and literature reviews, a conceptual framework is formulated to explore participants’ experiences of caregiving which encompasses their perception towards caregiving, the challenges faced as well as the ways of coping they utilized. Qualitative interviews were conducted with siblings of PWID (n = 7) who are currently involved in caregiving roles. Study findings revealed that existing factors in their ecological systems had influenced their caregiving plans. Apart from cognitive and behavioural ways of coping, findings revealed an added dimension of coping which was not expected – the spiritual dimension. These sibling caregivers proved to emerge stronger amidst their challenges, having enhanced their social roles with the caregiving qualities they possessed and becoming a source of strength for other sibling caregivers. These insights offer key perspectives and practice implications that support these individuals in their likelihood of undertaking main caregiver roles.

Carene Lee Ting Wei | Meaning Making as a Coping Strategy: An Exploratory Study on How Bereaved Caregivers Cope with the Death of a Loved One
During times of stressful life events such as death, meaning may hold a critical role in people’s adaptation to death. This qualitative study aims to provide insights into the meaning making experiences of bereaved caregivers, and examines the relationship between meaning making and coping. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 10 bereaved caregivers. Findings of this study showed that (i) Meaning making is a dynamic coping strategy that comprises four main processes: making sense of the event, the deceased figure, the bonds and the self. These processes happens concurrently and are interactive to one another, (ii) Meaning making is a multi-dimensional process. Depending on the meanings made, meaning making can impede or facilitate coping. (iii) Continuing bonds is a process that evolves in its forms and that internalizing the deceased’s legacy promotes coping in the long run. Implications for social work practice with the bereaved population and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Flora Tan Chunxiu | An Exploratory Study on Therapeutic Spaces: The Impact of the Counselling Room on the Worker-adolescent Helping Relationship
The aim of this study was to explore the interaction between the physical environment of counseling rooms and middle-stage adolescents, and its consequent impact on the worker-adolescent helping relationship, thereby illustrating the importance of the physical environment on the person-in-environment in social work practice. Existing literature has underscored the salience of the physical environment in social work, particularly on impressions clients form of workers, clients’ willingness to disclose, and their perceptions of comfort, control, and privacy crucial to the helping relationship. An exploratory qualitative study adapted from the person-environment fit theory and based on Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development was employed to study the impact of the counseling room on the helping relationship in social work with middle-stage adolescents. Semi-structured interviews with 6 social workers engaged in youth work, and focus group discussions with 8 middle-stage adolescents were conducted. Findings call for the importance of considering the physical environment in the person-in-environment perspective, necessitating social workers to co-work with the counseling room to strengthen the helping relationship.

David Puvaneyshwaran S/O Kunasekaran | Youth Theatre Project - A Participatory Action Research using Theatre of the Oppressed in Youth Social Service Settings
Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) is an internationally acclaimed drama pedagogy designed to provide a platform for oppressed citizens to unpack structural issues within their own contexts and collectively seek solutions. A participatory research study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of TO as a group work tool within the local youth social service setting and its perceived impacts on at-risk youths. Utilising an arts-based research approach with elements of participant observation, participants under the Guidance Programme were recruited to join the Youth Theatre Project which comprised 2 phases: a 9-session TO workshop and a final Forum Theatre performance put up for an invited audience. Dominelli’s Anti-Oppressive Practice framework was consulted as the conceptual lens to guide the study as its features sit well within TO and the Social Work practice. The findings revealed the need for cultural adaptation when working within a multi-cultural, heterogeneous society like Singapore and the importance of creating a safe platform for at-risk youths to express themselves, which in turn affect the progress of the group.Through the findings of this preliminary study, the value of TO within the youth social services is evident and seeks the need for more extensive research to investigate its long-term impacts in local youth social services.

Celine Tham Yi Xin | Mental Health Literacy and Help-seeking Behaviour among University Students in Singapore
There is a high prevalence of mental disorders among university students, yet few seek professional help. Existing interventions target students directly but have yielded limited results in increasing help-seeking behaviour, thus, an alternative approach is to tap on students as resources to look out for their peers and provide timely referrals. This quantitative study explored the relationships between factors that influence university students encouraging professional help-seeking and the likelihood of them doing so. These factors are: (i) mental health literacy (MHL); (ii) experiences with mental health (MH) help-seeking; (iii) course of study; and (iv) being acquainted with a MH professional. 302 NUS students responded to the online questionnaire. Results show that MHL and experiences with MH help-seeking have independent effects on increasing the likelihood of university students encouraging professional help-seeking. This provides justification for training university students to support distressed peers. Additionally, the roles of social workers as advocates and brokers were discussed.

“Looking Beyond the Surface” - Narrating Fieldwork Experiences from a National Longitudinal Study on Youth Offenders and the Community

Presenters:
Dr Priscilla Koh, Research Specialist, MSF
Ms Buvanisha Sagadevan, Research Assistant, SSR
Ms Grace Caines, Research Assistant, SSR

Time: 3:30pm to 5:30pm

Venue: FASS Research Division Seminar Room AS7 06-42
Address: Shaw Foundation Building AS7, 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

Abstract:
Enhancing Positive Outcomes in Youth and the Community (EPYC) study is a national longitudinal study that focuses on the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth offenders in Singapore. The study examines the interaction between developmental and environmental factors in relation to offending behaviour among youth. The goal of the study is to better understand how these factors may impact on the successful rehabilitation and reintegration of these youths into society. In this seminar series, we will discuss the different aspects of our data collection strategies and fieldwork experiences with a segment of society that is often either overlooked or not well understood.

Presenters' profile:

Priscilla Koh is a research specialist at the Ministry of Social and Family Development examining issues of rehabilitation and protection. Her research includes longitudinal studies to do with the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth offenders in Singapore, and improving the staff capability and retention rate of Child Protection Services. An anthropologist and historian by training, Priscilla is interested in understanding human motivation, and issues related to belonging and identity.

Buvanisha Sagadevan graduated from James Cook University Singapore with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology (Honours) in 2016. Previously, she was a research assistant for the Singapore Kindergarten Impact Project (SKIP) by NIE, administering tests to kindergarten children across schools in Singapore. With her keen interest in working with youths as well as forensic psychology, Nisha is now involved with Enhancing Positive Outcomes in Youth Offenders and the Community (EPYC) research project. Headed by the Social Science Research (SSR) and Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), this study aims to investigate risk and protective factors of juvenile offenders.

Grace Caines graduated from the NUS with a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours), majoring in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she interned with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) as well as the National Council of Social Services (NCSS), assisting with research pertaining to the Children, Adolescent Needs, and Services (CANS) assessment tool. Her main research interests involve offender rehabilitation and criminal behaviour. Currently, she is involved in Enhancing Positive Outcomes in Youth Offenders and the Community (EPYC) research project.

SR Nathan Professor Public Lecture: Theory? Research? Science? ‘But I’m a Social Worker!

Presenter: Professor Ian Shaw
SR Nathan Professor
National University of Singapore

Time: 10am to 12pm, followed by lunch from 12pm to 1pm

Venue: Auditorium, Shaw Foundation Alumni House
Address: 11 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119244

Abstract:
Practitioners sometimes are joined by social work academic faculty and policy makers in thinking social work is at risk from too much – or the wrong kind of – theory, research and the mystifications of science. In this lecture I will endeavour to show that no social work is free from science, theory or research. But I also will suggest that the implications of each of these often are ambiguous for social work. Inescapable – yet ambiguous. I will pursue this through a consideration of the claims for best evidence, reflective practice, and ‘new’ technology. Best practice, I will conclude, calls for practitioners with a critical appreciation of science, theory and research.

Presenter’s profile:
Dr Ian Shaw is S R Nathan Professor of Social Work at NUS and Professor Emeritus at the University of York, England. He was the first chair of the European Social Work Research Association (ESWRA), and a founder editor of the journal Qualitative Social Work. He has authored almost 100 peer reviewed papers, just over 20 books, approximately 60 book chapters and various research reports. He has written extensively in the journals on issues arising from the relationship between social work and sociology over the last century. His work has been translated into several languages including Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and Welsh. He jointly edits the ESWRA sponsored book series ‘Research in Social Work’ for Policy Press. HIs latest book Research and the Social Work Picture (2018) is in that series. He is pursuing a graduate programme in creative writing, which sits alongside his interests in gardening, his local church, volunteering in his village shop, playing badminton (badly), and Bob Dylan.

“This is What Inequality Looks Like” Teo You Yenn, in conversation with Irene Ng and Ong Qiyan

Presenter:
Associate Professor Teo You Yenn
Head of Sociology
Nanyang Technological University

Time: 4pm to 5:30pm

Venue: FASS Dean’s Office Seminar Room B, AS7-01-16/17/18
Address: Shaw Foundation Building, National University of Singapore
5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

Abstract:
The session will focus on a recently published book of essays, This is What Inequality Looks Like. Teo You Yenn will introduce the broad contours of the book—the research it draws from, the questions it poses, and some key findings. This will be followed by a conversation with Irene Ng and Ong Qiyan.

Presenter’s profile:
TEO You Yenn is an Associate Professor and Head of Sociology at Nanyang Technological University. She is author of Neoliberal Morality in Singapore: How family policies make state and society (Routledge, 2011) and This is What Inequality Looks Like (Ethos Books, 2018).

Survival Issues for Village Model of Care for Older Adults

Presenter:
Professor Ruth E. Dunkle
School of Social Work
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Time: 4pm to 5:30pm

Venue: Research Division Seminar Room (AS7 06-42)
Address: Shaw Foundation Building, National University of Singapore
5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

Abstract:
With the growth in the older population in the United States and around the world, more attention focuses on where older adults will live and how they will receive needed care. This picture is complex with traditional models of care such as nursing homes being less popular and community based programs expanding. Less fiscal and administrative involvement by the public sector in the United States in long term care and the decreasing availability of family support for caring for older adults further complicate the caring service network picture. Many older people want to age in place which means staying in their home as long possible. One popular model of care is the Village Model where services provided in the older person’s home facilitate an independent life. This form of care faces sustainability issues. Factors that contribute to longevity or lack thereof in two different village models will be discussed.

Presenter’s profile:
Professor Ruth Dunkle's research, teaching, and clinical practice focus on gerontology. Recent research projects include, “AGELESS ACTS”, "Mothers of Adult Daughters with a Serious Mental Illness: The Experience of African Americans and Whites" and "An Historical Perspective of Social Service Delivery in Detroit in the Twentieth Century." From 1988-2006, Professor Dunkle served as a project co-director of the National Institute on Aging training program, "Social Research Training on Applied Issues of Aging". Currently, she also serves as co-director of the Geriatric Fellowship Program. Professor Dunkle has written or edited several books, most recently on the oldest old, which examines their future time perspectives and their coping strategies in dealing with the changes in their physical and psychological functioning, and which identifies relevant service delivery strategies for improving the quality of their lives. Her current work focuses on spousal caregiving, the Village Model of care as well as the impact of participation in creative aging activities on the well-being of older adults.

Sign up for Consultation with Professor Dunkle

Academics and practitioners who would like to consult Professor Dunkle on specific issues relating to her research expertise could sign for a 45-minutes consultation session with her.
Eight 45-mins consultation sessions are available for sign-ups

Date: 8 and 9 February 2018
Time: 9am to 1pm
Venue: Research Division Seminar Room (AS7 06-43)
Address: 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570 [parking is available at carpark 15]

Registration Interested participants may email your name, organization, topic of interest and two preferred timeslots (Please indicate two preferred timeslots by the hour (e.g. 9am to 10am and 12pm to 1pm) to Andrew at fasalsk@nus.edu.sg by Thu, 1st Feb.

Please note that registration is only complete upon reception of a confirmation email

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Restoring the ‘Social’ in Offender Reintegration: Humanising the Penal Experience

Presenter:
A/P Narayanan Ganapathy
Assistant Dean – Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Associate Professor - Department of Sociology

Time: 4pm to 5:30pm
Registration starts at 3:30pm and light refreshments will be provided

Venue: Research Division Seminar Room (AS7 06-42)
Address: Shaw Foundation Building, National University of Singapore
5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

Abstract:
The social reintegration of ex-offenders into the community has emerged as one of the key concerns of the criminal justice system globally as prison populations in most countries have risen rapidly over the past decade with a concomitant rise in the numbers of releases (Scott & Codd, 2010). High recidivism rates indicate that many ex-prisoners have not benefitted from the rehabilitative process during incarceration and thus are not successful in their reintegration into society (Petersilia, 2003). While rehabilitation and reintegration are often treated as interchangeable concepts in the political and in much of the positivist academic discourses, such conflation raises methodological and theoretical issues which are often glossed over in the narratives. The objectives of this paper are threefold: first, to highlight the theoretical differences between rehabilitation, which is largely psychological in focus, and reintegration, which is mainly social in nature; second, to demonstrate the ways in which the dominance of the psychological paradigm of risk management and reduction, as seen in the “risk-needs-responsivity” model, mitigates reintegration efforts within the penal context; and third, to make a case for “restorative detention”, notwithstanding the internal contradiction the term connotes.

Presenter’s profile:
Narayanan Ganapathy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore. He is concurrently an Assistant Dean at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Prof Ganapathy’s research and teaching interests are criminology, sociology of crime and deviance, sociology of law and policing, juvenile justice, criminal gangs and domestic violence. Prof Ganapathy has published extensively in various international journals and is a member of the Editorial Boards of The European Journal of Criminology, The Asian Journal of Criminology and The International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice.

Prof Ganapathy sits on the ministerial committees of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Social and Family Development, Ministry of Defence, and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. He is also a Member of the National Council Against Drug Abuse, and the Indian Community Aftercare Council. Prof Ganapathy is the Chairman of the HEB-Ashram Halfway House, a role he undertakes in his capacity as a member of the Hindu Endowments Board.

2017

Contextual Influence on Experiences of Minority of Youths and Children

Presenters:
Dr Chung, You-Jin, Lecturer, Singapore University of Social Sciences
Mr Jason Lee, Social Worker, AMKFSC Community Services Ltd.

Time: 4pm to 5:30pm

Venue: Research Division Seminar Room (AS7 06-42)
Address: Shaw Foundation Building, National University of Singapore
5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

Dr Chung, You-Jin - Exploring acculturation experiences of Korea adolescents in Singapore and their psychological well-being

Abstract:
Adjusting to a new environment is particularly challenging for immigrant adolescents, who are trying to adapt to two cultures while dealing with the normal developmental process of identity formation. This study focused on understanding the acculturation experiences of Korean adolescents who have lived in Singapore. Through the research, the researcher provided insight into what stress Korean adolescents have experienced in Singapore and how their ethnic identity work on their psychological well-being by conducting the exploratory sequential mixed methods. The study further identified the role of ethnic identity, which may be different depending on the context of reception. This presentation will highlight implications and contributions of the study for academic knowledge, social work practice and social policies.

Mr Jason Lee - Exploring the Social and Emotional Experiences of Children with Parental Incarceration

Abstract:
This study extends research into the impact of parental incarceration on children aged 7 to 12 years by exploring their social and emotional experiences using a qualitative approach. By investigating their perspectives, their socioeconomic status, presence of stigma, and emotional state were examined. The interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis approach and four overarching themes were found. Researcher will be sharing about the research process, findings, challenges as well as implications of the study.

Presenter’s profile:
Dr Chung, You-Jin is a lecturer and field education coordinator of Social Work Programme at Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). She earned her Ph.D. in Social Work from National University of Singapore (NUS), and MA (Social Work) from the Ewha Womans University in Korea. She worked with adults and adolescents with mental problems and their families in community settings in Korea (i.e. community mental health center, mental health welfare research institute, rehabilitation center, and community mental health volunteers). Her research interest includes community mental health – development of system, program and network, immigrant adaptation and well-being, and adolescents’ mental health.

Mr Jason Chee is currently a social worker in Nexus Family Resource Centre under AMKFSC Community Services Ltd. He graduated in March 2017 with a Masters in Social Work from Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). His interest in working with the incarcerated population motivated him to conduct the research during his studies.

International Day for Eradication of Poverty - Panel Discussion: Down But Not Out!

Presenters:
A/P Irene Y.H. Ng, Director, Social Service Research Centre
Dr Mathew Mathews, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Policy Studies
A/P Ho Kong Weng, Singapore Management University
Adjunct Asst. Prof Caroline Brassard, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Time: 4pm to 5:45pm

Venue: School of Computing, Seminar Room 1 (COM1 #02-12)
Address: 13 Computing Drive, Singapore 117590

A/P Irene Y.H. Ng, Dr Mathew Mathews, A/P Ho Kong Weng - Struggling yet Improving: Lessons from a Five-Waves Study of Financial Assistance Recipients

Abstract:
In 2007, the (then) Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports started the Work Support Program (WSP) to help low-income beneficiaries find employment and achieve financial independence through interim financial support and other assistance. This presentation will share findings from a longitudinal study that followed WSP beneficiaries over five waves, from 2010 to 2016. It will present trends in beneficiaries’ employment, income, arrears, and psychosocial well-being, which suggest that beneficiaries are struggling yet improving. The presenters will propose policy and practice implications of the findings, for discussion with seminar participants.

Adjunct Asst. Prof Caroline Brassard - Living on a Tight Budget in Singapore – A Study of 25 Malay Muslim Households

Abstract:
The presentation is based on the findings of the Mendaki report “Living on a Tight Budget in Singapore” on low income households in Singapore, by the lead researcher. The purpose of this research paper was to shed light in the lives of low-income Malay Muslim households in Singapore, in order to understand their vulnerability to shocks, their daily challenges and needs, as well as their aspirations and perceptions about the future. The research team interviewed 25 such households over the course of 15 months, in three rounds of in-depth interviews including a detailed household survey. Using both open-ended and closed-ended questions, we were able to triangulate qualitative and quantitative data to increase the reliability of our findings and obtain deeper insights unattainable through large-scale survey questionnaires. The richness of the narratives gathered as part of this research highlights the best and worse moments in the lives of these households, and consequently, demonstrates the complexity in addressing their diverse needs. From a policy perspective, the research aims to provide evidence on how to improve support and services offered to low-income Malay Muslim households, and initiate new ways to address their needs.

This research findings fills knowledge gaps in these key areas:

• The challenges encountered by low-income Malay Muslim households and their impacts;
• Their priorities, needs, aspirations and perceptions about the future;
• The vicious and virtuous cycles;
• Resilience, coping mechanisms and social capital

Presenter’s profile:
Irene Y.H. Ng is an Associate Professor of Social Work and Director of the Social Service Research Centre in the National University of Singapore. She holds a joint Ph.D. in Social Work and Economics from the University of Michigan. Her research areas include poverty and inequality, intergenerational mobility, youth crime, and social welfare policy. Her research projects include an evaluation of a national Work Support program; National Youth Surveys 2010, 2013 and 2017; a study of low-income households with debt; and an evaluation of Social Service Offices. She is active in the community, serving or having served in committees in the Ministry of Social and Family Development, National Council of Social Service, Ministry of Manpower, and various voluntary welfare organizations. Her teaching areas include poverty, policy, welfare economics, youth work, and program planning.

Mathew Mathews is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies. While most of his research relates to societal cohesion and family issues, he has for several years been interested in social service utilisation and provision. His research has included evaluations of programmes for single mothers, low-income families and older persons. Mathew has taught courses related to social policy and has published in a range of academic outlets. He serves on various government and non-governmental boards and communities. He is President of Alive Community Network and is part of the VWOs-Charities Capability Fund Panel and the Families for Life Council.

Ho Kong Weng is Associate Professor of Economics (Education) at the School of Economics, Singapore Management University. He teaches Introductory Economics, Macroeconomics of Income Distribution, and Family and the Society: Economic Theories and Practices. His research interests include inequality and social mobility, wellbeing and sense of belonging, parental influence on youth, evaluation of programs to assist low-income families, and issues related to the Singapore economy and society at large. He has provided consultation service to NYC, MSF, and MCCY

Caroline Brassard worked as an economist for the Government of Ontario in Canada, and then undertook research and long term consultancy work on poverty reduction strategies for several international non-governmental organizations in developing countries, including United Nations Children’s Fund in Madagascar, CARE in Bangladesh and Save the Children in Vietnam. She then went on to undertake a Phd in Economics at the University of London, where she taught empirical analysis for economics and management for two years, prior to joining the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Caroline continues to consult with various international organizations including the United Nations Development Program and she teaches on aid governance, research methods, economic development policy, poverty alleviation strategies and empirical analysis for public policy. Her current research focuses on aid governance in Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia and Vietnam, comparing policies to alleviate poverty and reduce inequalities, Bhutan’s development based on Gross National Happiness and the development policy lessons from the Post-Tsunami reconstruction in Aceh, Indonesia.

Please note that there will not be media coverage for this event

Understanding the Quality of Life of Seniors, Persons with Disabilities and Persons with Mental Health Issues

Presenter: Dilys Tan, Assistant Director and Benjamin Tay, Manager, National Council of Social Service, Ministry of Social and Family Development
Time: 4pm to 5:30pm
Venue: Evans Room, Ventus (University Campus Infrastructure), National University of Singapore, 8 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119246

Abstract:
What is the quality of life for adults with disabilities, adults with mental health issues and seniors? To better understand this, National Council of Social Service (NCSS) embarked on the quality of life study in 2015.

Taking the perspective that every individual is a person first and should not be defined just by his or her condition or diagnosis, NCSS examined the life of a person using the World Health Organisation Quality of Life Framework. This allowed us to identify different aspects of a person’s life beyond just his/her diagnosis– i. Physical, ii. Psychological, iii. Level of independence, iv. Personal belief, v. environment and vi. Social Relationships. Further to this, we also asked what aspects of their lives they would like to see the most improvement in and the type of services they require.

These findings have informed master plans, service development, and most importantly, provided volume to previously unheard voices at these platforms.

Presenter’s profile:
Dilys is the Assistant Director of Advocacy and Research at National Council of Social Service. Her role at NCSS is to lead applied research to understand the needs and gaps in the sector and present evidence-informed solutions. Her research interests include caregivers, respite care, quality of life, culture and identity. Prior to this, she was in the service planning and development group, looking into identifying needs and developing services for the disability population. Her past work revolved around special education and care options for school-going children, ensuring service standards and needs were adequately met.

Benjamin Tay currently works for the National Council of Social Service, Advocacy and Research, Advocacy and Membership group to conduct research and advocacy for emerging, unmet and underserved needs in the social service sector. He has a keen interest in evaluation of social programmes and was involved in NCSS’s studies to better understand the respite needs of Caregivers and the quality of life of vulnerable populations in Singapore.

MWS CFSC Child Protection Practice Model - From Research to Practice

Presenter: Joyce Teo, Caleb Wong and Ng Yi Ying, Methodist Welfare Services, Covenant Family Service Centre
Time: 4pm to 5:30pm
Venue: Evans Room, Ventus (University Campus Infrastructure), National University of Singapore, 8 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119246

Abstract:
Over the past 2 years, the workers in Covenant Family Service Centre have noticed a spike in cases with child welfare concerns. The idea of a Child Protection Practice Model to ensure best practices amongst workers started a research process to build the model in an evidence-based manner. With guidance from SSR staff, the research team did an environmental scan, interviews with workers and literature review to build a practice model informed by literature and practice wisdom. The research team will be sharing about the research process, the Practice Model, as well as their experience as practitioners doing practice research.

Presenter’s profile:
Caleb Wong graduated from NUS with a B.Sc (Hons) in 2016, majoring in Social Work and Psychology. He is currently in the NCSS Sun Ray Programme. He previously interned in a Family Service Centre and MSF FSC Development Branch. He is a social worker at MWS Covenant Family Service Centre.

Joyce Teo is a senior social worker at MWS Covenant Family Service Centre with 11 years of experience in social work, working with families with complex needs. She has interest in working with families with child welfare concerns. She has a BA in Social Work from NUS and a Graduate Diploma in Counselling Practice (Counselling and Care Centre).

Ng Yi Ying is currently a social worker at MWS Covenant Family Service Centre. She graduated in 2015 with a B.Sc (Hons) in Social Work. She enjoys integrating research with practice, and is interested in child protection work.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Registration closes on Wednesday, 23 Aug 2017.
Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome.
For enquiries, please contact Ms Jess Tan

Social Housing Movement and Unknown Housing Problems in Taiwan

Presenter: A/P Yi-Ling Chen, Associate Professor, Global and Area Studies and Geography, University of Wyoming
Time: 4pm to 5:30pm
Venue: AS7 Seminar Room 01-17, Shaw Foundation Building, National University of Singapore, 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

Abstract:
Since 2010, the strong social rental housing movement has brought housing to the front of social struggles in Taiwan. Bottom-up forces pushed the government to play a bigger role in the housing sector. The ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party, has promised to increase the ratio of social rental housing. The processes to start social rental housing from ground zero raised several questions:

1.Who should be the major provider of social rental housing - the government, the private sector, tenant organizations, or public corporations?

2.Where is the money to come from?

3.Who has priority?  Should social housing only be offered to low-income people or should it be extended to cover a mixed-income population?

4.How can social acceptance of social rental housing be increased in a predominantly home owner society?

5.What experiences and lessons have Taiwan learned from The Netherlands, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore?

The construction of social housing is an experiment with a lot of uncertainties about whether social housing is a good solution. At this seminar, we will explore how the neglect of housing data and research worsens these uncertainties.

Presenter’s profile:
Yi-Ling Chen is an associate professor in Global & Area Studies and Geography at the University of Wyoming. Her research interest is about the interaction of urban planning and social change, focusing on urban social movements, particularly those concerning housing access. She published works on housing, gender, urban movements, and regional development in Taiwan. She is editing a book on contesting urban space in East Asia (Palgrave MacMillan) and working on a comparative study on the formation of social rental housing in East Asia, Europe and the USA.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Registration closes on Wednesday, 11 Aug 2017.
Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome.
For enquiries, please contact Ms Jess Tan

Choice and Control: Lessons from the Implementation of Personal Budgets in the UK

Presenter: Mr Zhuang Kuansong, Independent Researcher
Time: 4pm to 5:30pm
Venue: Evans Room, Ventus (University Campus Infrastructure), National University of Singapore
8 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119246

Abstract:
The social model of disability first originated in the UK in the 1980s. Since the 1990s, successive UK governments have put in place policy measures to realise the aspirations of disabled people and the social model, of which personalisation has been a key cornerstone. In the UK, personalisation is a policy to give choice and control to service users over the shape of the support in care settings. Personal budgets arise out of this and is a sum of money allocated to disabled people after an assessment of their needs. Personal budgets, in theory, aim to allow people to take control of their own lives and have more choices in the use and purchase of services. Towards the end of my Chevening year in the UK, I had the opportunity to conduct a study for Inclusion North, a not for profit organisation working across the North of England supporting people with intellectual disabilities, and their families and carers. In this study, I looked at the UK policy of personalisation and the manifestation of it in the form of personal budgets. Over the course of two months, I interviewed over 40 disabled people and their carers across the North of England who shared candidly about their experiences of personal budgets. Arising from this study, I will share my insights on the UK context of disability, as well as the implementation of personalisation and personal budgets. I will then discuss the possible lessons that we can take from this UK experience.

Presenter’s profile:
KUANSONG, ZHUANG is an independent researcher on disability in Singapore. He first graduated with a BA and MA in History from the National University of Singapore, where his research traced the evolution of disability discourse in Singapore, and its impact on the lives and identities of disabled people in Singapore. He subsequently went on to do a second Masters in Disability Studies at the University of Leeds funded by the prestigious Chevening Scholarship from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Kuansong’s research interests focus on disability studies in Singapore, ranging from disability identity to policy. He aspires to do a PhD in Disability Studies in the near future.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Registration closes on Wednesday, 3 May 2017.
Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome.
For enquiries, please contact Ms Jess Tan

One Size Fits All? Housing History, Experiences, and Expectations of Public Rental Tenants

Presenter: Dr Ng Kok Hoe, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS
Time: 4pm to 5:30pm
Venue: AS7-01-17, The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 1
National University of Singapore, 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

Abstract:
Public rental housing has a long history in Singapore and has been expanding in recent years, but is often overlooked in research on Singapore’s public housing policy. Based on a survey of more than 800 rental households, this study examines the profile, housing histories, experiences, and expectations of public rental tenants. The findings show that the tenant population face significant educational and economic disadvantage. Almost half of the households have no work income at all, even though work is the most common income source in general. While Malay households are over-represented, Chinese elderly tenants have the lowest educational profile. Many tenants have long histories of renting, with about 40% of them living in public rental housing 20 years ago. Within the population, two types of household stand out: Adults with children, and elderly-only households. Between them, they account for two thirds of the tenant population. These two types of household also report very different housing experiences and expectations.  On the whole, the survey findings highlight the diversity of the tenant population, raising questions about how far public rental housing caters for different needs, and the extent of flexibility and choice within the public housing system.

Presenter’s profile:
Ng Kok Hoe is Assistant Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. He received his PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He was previously in the Singapore civil service and continues to consult for the government and the voluntary sector on social policy and social service issues. Kok Hoe’s research interests are ageing and income security; poverty and public housing policy; and community-based social services. His ongoing projects examine the impact of public pension policies and reforms on old-age income security and poverty, the social and economic circumstances of social housing, and the impact of youth outreach and social assistance programmes.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Registration closes on Friday, 14 Apr 2017.
Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome.
For enquiries, please contact Ms Jess Tan

Engaging Residents at the Neighbourhood Level

Presenter: A/P Ho Kong Chong, Department of Sociology, NUS
Time: 4pm to 5:30pm
Venue: AS7-01-17, The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 1
National University of Singapore, 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

Abstract:
As a modern metrpolis, many Singaporeans tend to spend most of their waking hours at work or in schools, away from their residential neighbourhoods and neighbourly relations tend to be weaker. Yet as our society ages and as our population become increasingly hetergeneous, we will need more caring neighbourly relations. One of the recent initiatives of spatial policy in Singapore has been efforts at strengthening the neighbourhood community,as neighbourhoods where neighbours know and interact with each other is seen to be an important building block of a cohesive society. We draw our findings from a community bonding project at Tampines, a New Town completed in different stages between 1983 and 1997. The project involved efforts at a social amenity co-creation exercise between residents and town planners at Tampines Central. Our study involved a study of the effects after these amenities were built and the study involved the analysis of CCTV footage of cameras mounted at different public sites where these amenities are located. Significantly these sites are found in and near a busy pedestrian and bicycle linkway which connects residents in Tampines central to the market and buses. Our study show how the different amenities – the creation of a flexible social space, a new café, a mini hardcourt and a more modest attempt at placing seats at a convenient place close to the market where shoppers can rest before walking home – have different social effects in building and reinforcing social relations at the neighbourhood level. Our analysis show the importance of understanding the micro-spaces of the neighbourhood, the different neighbours who traverse these spaces at different times of the day and the resulting rhythms of everyday social life of the neighbourhood.

Presenter’s profile:
Ho Kong Chong is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore. Trained as an urban sociologist at the University of Chicago, his research interests are in the political economy of cities, migration, higher education, and youth. A/P Ho is a research advisor to MSF’s Family Research Network and the National Youth Council’s Youth.sg research project, and a research associate with the Asia Research Institute’s Migration and Asian Cities Clusters. He is an editorial board member of Pacific Affairs and the International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Registration closes on Friday, 24 Feb 2017.
Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome.
For enquiries, please contact Ms Jess Tan

Applying Behavioral Science to Programme Design: Findings from Low-income Households with Debt

Presenter: Dr Ong Qiyan
Research Fellow, Social Service Research Centre
Time: 4pm to 5:30pm
Venue: AS7-01-17, The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 1
National University of Singapore, 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

Abstract:
This presentation will provide a brief introduction to behavioural science and how behavioural science has been employed in social programmes worldwide to improve programme effectiveness. Based on findings from a study on low-income Singaporean households with debt, it will then discuss how behavioural science may be incorporated in the local context to develop programmes targeted at low-income households..

Presenter’s profile:
Qiyan is a research fellow with the Social Service Research Centre. She specializes in using behavioral and applied economics to study individual decision-making and the effects and performances of different policy designs. Her research spans a range of behavioral domains. Her recent research includes studies on cognitive reasons for debt in low-income households, performance of transnational marriage support programs and social service office models, as well as performance of different types of incentives on motivating prosocial behavior.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED


Registration closes on Friday, 17 Feb 2017.
Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome.
For enquiries, please contact Ms Jess Tan

2016

Finding a Home: Housing Experiences of Interim Rental Housing Families and Single Mothers

Presenters: Dr Teo Poh Leng, Senior Lecturer, UniSIM
Dr Neo Yu Wei, Research Fellow, Social Service Research Centre, NUS
Time: 4pm to 5:30pm
Venue: AS7-01-17, The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 1
National University of Singapore, 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

Abstract (“O, give me a home” – Low income Families who are Housed and Yet Homeless):
Internationally, Singapore is reputed to have a successful national public housing policy. The lead housing authority, the Housing and Development Board (HDB), has housed more than 96% of the resident Singapore population in HDB-purchased homes. For the very poor, there is a social safety net for them to rent smaller HDB flats via the Public Rental Scheme. This presentation discusses the housing experiences of a unique group of families who fall outside the realm of normative public housing in Singapore – vulnerable families on the Interim Rental Housing Scheme (IRHS). The experiences of these families in transitional housing highlight a few pertinent issues which include the multi-dimensional nature of a home, home and homelessness being two sides of the same coin, home ownership, and the quality of family life, in particular for children caught in the web of family homelessness

Abstract (“Go find a husband, so that you can buy a flat” – Housing Barriers and Gendered Marginalization Faced by Single Mothers):
Public housing policies in Singapore are designed based on the principle of encouraging and maintaining “strong and stable families”, where “families” are generally accepted as intact, nuclear, with legally married parents and at least one family member as the stable breadwinner. However, what happens when families deviate from this family profile, especially for lower-income, single-mother families? This presentation discusses the housing barriers that single-mother families face as they struggle to improve their housing situation by attempting to move out of temporary or rental housing. It is argued that specific housing policies or schemes not only exclude or create additional barriers for single mothers, they deepen the lines of marginalisation along gender, ethnicity and nationality. The consequences of these housing barriers not only affect the single mothers’ well-being, but also the well-being of their children.

Presenter’s profile:
Poh Leng has more than 20 years of social work experience at the Ministry of Social and Family Development, leading dedicated teams in a variety of settings that include marriage matters, rehabilitation of juvenile offenders and youth-at-risk, destitute persons, family and child protection and welfare, social research and elderly services. She is currently on secondment to UniSIM as a Senior Lecturer.

Presenter’s profile:
Yu Wei is a research fellow with the Social Service Research Centre. A sociologist by training, Yu Wei is primarily interested in how the social construction of poverty, childhoods and families influence social policy designs, as well as service delivery. She conducted her doctoral study on how social inclusion policies are framed by policymakers, service providers and children from low-income families in Australia. Recently, she is involved in a research project examining the experiences of families living in rental housing in Singapore.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED


Registration closes on Thursday, 3 Nov 2016.
Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome.
For enquiries, please contact Ms Jess Tan

Engaging Juvenile Delinquents and Youths-at-risk - Youth Workers’ Use of Social Media for Mediated Pastoralism

Presenter: A/P Lim Sun Sun
Assistant Dean (Research) & Associate Professor, Department of Communications and New Media
Time: 4pm to 5:30pm
Venue: EVANS Room, National University of Singapore, Ventus (University Campus Infrastructure), 03-01, 8 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119246

Abstract:
Youth work seeks to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents for re-entry into mainstream society and to prevent youths-at-risk from falling into delinquency, thus necessitating that youth workers assiduously monitor their clients. With the avid use of social media by youths, youth workers must also adopt these communication platforms to reach out to their young clients. Drawing from interviews with youth workers, this study analyses how they use Facebook to communicate with their clients and monitor their activities. Surveillance forms a key thrust of youth workers’ professional use of Facebook, enhancing their ability to oversee these youths’ personal development for the purposes of mentoring and rehabilitation. Contrary to dystopian, power-centric conceptions of surveillance, the study finds that the youth workers’ surveillance of their clients is undergirded by care and beneficence, better understood using Foucault’s concept of pastoralism. Through mediated pastoralism via Facebook, these youth workers can derive a more extensive picture of their clients, including their emotional state and peer interactions. With this knowledge, the youth workers can then calibrate their interventions more strategically and only step in when their clients engage in behaviour that poses significant risks or danger. In so doing, the youth workers foster durable relational bonds with their clients that they can still leverage over time. Facebook communications also help the youth workers to bridge communication gaps with these youths. The study also examines how the youths resist the youth workers’ oversight in various ways, including engaging in sousveillance.

Presenter’s profile:
A/P Lim Sun Sun is Associate Professor at the Department of Communications & New Media and Assistant Dean (Research) at the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, National University of Singapore. She is passionate about understanding the intricacies of the relationship between technology and society. She has written and lectured extensively on the social implications of technology domestication by young people and families, charting the ethnographies of their internet and mobile phone use. A/P Lim’s latest books include Mobile Communication and the Family: Asian Experiences in Technology Domestication (Springer, 2016) and Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena, Enduring Concepts (Routledge, 2016).

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED


Registration closes on Monday, 10 Oct 2016.
Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome.
For enquiries, please contact Ms Jess Tan

Effect of Socioeconomic Disparities on Survival of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Patients

Presenter: Dr Wong Ting Hway
Consultant, Department of General Surgery, Singapore General Hospital
Time: 4pm to 5:30pm
Venue: EVANS Room, National University of Singapore, Ventus (University Campus Infrastructure), 03-01, 8 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119246

Abstract:
Socio-economic status has been shown to affect survival in patients diagnosed with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), even in health systems with universal healthcare in developed countries. Singapore has a subsidized housing system, where income determines eligibility for subsidies. The goal of our study was to assess whether socio-economic status, determined by a patient's residential profile, influenced survival of these patients. A secondary analysis examined whether lower socioeconomic status patients were more likely to present with advanced disease.

Presenter’s profile:
Dr Wong Ting Hway is a general and trauma surgeon at the Singapore General Hospital. She has worked for various humanitarian organisations, including Doctors without Borders in Angola, and was medical co-ordinator for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Nepal. When not walking around the hospital, she belly-dances and dances hip-hop with her toddlers. Her poems and articles have been published in various anthologies, including "Dance the Guns to Silence" and "Medecins sans Frontieres: Stories from the Field". More recent essays, inspired by her journey with her mother’s dementia, were published in “Grandmother’s Garden”.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED


Registration closes on Wednesday, 21 Sep 2016.
Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome.
For enquiries, please contact Ms Jess Tan

Protecting the Elderly in Singapore: The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and Proposed Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA)

Presenter: Ms Charlotte Beck
Senior Director, Family Development Group, Ministry of Social and Family Development
Time: 4pm to 5:30pm
Venue: Seminar Room 01-17, National University of Singapore, The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 1, 5 Arts Link, Singapore 11757

Abstract:
Singapore is ageing rapidly. By 2030, there will be over 900,000 residents aged 65 and above, many of whom would be single or have no children. There is a need for future-ready legislation to enhance the protection of our elderly. The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) enables individuals to make a Lasting Power of Attorney to appoint someone they trust to make decisions on their behalf in case they lose mental capacity (i.e. a “donee”). The Court may also appoint a “deputy” to act on behalf of a mentally incapacitated person. The MCA was amended in March 2016 to introduce professional donees and deputies, who serve individuals with no family support. The proposed Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA) will enable the State to intervene more effectively to protect vulnerable seniors and persons with disabilities who are suffering or at risk of harm due to abuse, neglect or self-neglect. It complements the MCA by extending coverage to those whose mental incapacity has not yet been established. This presentation will provide an overview of both the MCA and the VAA, and touch on the policies, programmes and services to better serve and protect seniors in Singapore.

Presenter’s profile:
Ms Charlotte Beck is currently the Senior Director of the Family Development Group in the Ministry of Social and Family Development. She started her career in the then Ministry of Social Affairs in the Child Care Division. She went on to the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Home Affairs. She left for the private sector and returned to the civil service assuming the appointment of Director at the Public Service Commission. She joined the then Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports in late 2003, handling Family Policy which included gambling safeguards. Following this, she moved on as Senior Director handling the Elderly, Disability and Gambling Safeguards portfolio. With effect from July 2013, she returned to the Family portfolio.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED


Registration closes on Monday, 8 August 2016.
Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome.
For enquiries, please contact Ms Jess Tan

Developing Good Practitioner Research: An Agenda for Research Commissioner, Agencies and Practitioners

Presenter: Professor Ian Shaw
SR Nathan Professor, Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore
Time: 10am to 12pm (Registration starts at 9:15am)
Venue: Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, Education Resource Centre, University Town, NUS
8 College Ave West, Level 2, Singapore 138608

Abstract:
There are different forms of practitioner research. Using a single term for all instances of such inquiry may confuse rather than enlighten. Using data from English language published studies in the fields of health, scoal care and social work, the presentation will propose how practitioner research can be further characterized as "practitioner-led" and "academic partnership" research and highlight the distinctions between these two kinds of practitioner research. Areas where there are differences between the two forms include the occupational roles of researchers, research relationships, writing relationships, the focus of the research questions and problems, research methodology, the extent to which benefits and utilization are addressed, and the writing "voice" in published outputs. Finally, implications are for research commissioners, social work and health care agencies, and practitioners will be discussed.

Presenter’s profile:
Professor Ian Shaw is the visiting S R Nathan Professor with the Department of Social Work between 7 June and 6 July 2016. He is also the Professor of Social Work in the Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University, and Emeritus Professor at the University of York. He was a founder-editor of the journal, Qualitative Social Work. He led the foundation of the European Social Work Research Association and was first Chair until 2015. Professor Shaw has been involved in various studies of practitioner research in social work and health - in Wales, Scotland and most recently in England. References to some of the results of these can be seen on his website


Download PDF of Presentation Slides Here

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Experiences from the Circle of Care Project

Presenter: Dr Khoo Kim Choo
Organization: Care Corner
Time: 4pm to 5.30pm
Venue: Evans Room (Level 2), Ventus, 8 Kent Ridge Drive, National University of Singapore, S119246

Abstract:
The Circle of Care (CoC) Project of Care Corner is targeted at children enrolled in childcare centres, who are at risk from low income, vulnerable families. The project is based on the ecological model with the young child as the client. The intervention focuses on the child and family, using a multi-disciplinary collaboration in assessment and intervention, and accessing the internal network of resources and the community to strengthen both the children at risk and all children in the centre. Initial indicators show promising outcomes for children and parents. CoC is now into a second phase to extend the model to 3 other organisations and is extending its support for these children through to the early primary years. The CoC Project is funded by the Lien Foundation.

Presenter’s profile:
Dr Khoo Kim Choo is the consultant to the Circle of Care Project from its inception. Her PhD is in Social Welfare, specialising in children and families. She has been involved in the early childhood field for the past 30 years in various capacities – as CEO, trainer, author, keynote speaker, consultant to MSF, UNICEF, UNESCO among others and was/is involved in various boards and committees, government, NGOs and academia. She is also a specialist volunteer with SIF previously in Vietnam, Indonesia and now in Myanmar. She was Adjunct A/P at NUS in the Social Work Department and also taught at SIM University. She is the Founder Director of the Preschool for Multiple Intelligences.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Educational Pathways and Youth Development

Presenter: A/P Irene Ng
Organization: Social Service Research Centre
Time: 4pm to 5.30pm
Venue: National Youth Council Breakout Area, Blk 490 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, HDB Hub Biz Three #04-10, Singapore 310490

Abstract:
This presentation examines the role that educational paths play in mediating the effects of youths’ background on various developmental outcomes, focusing on students aged 15 to 18 in the National Youth Survey 2013. Although education differed by parental socio-economic status, race, and immigrant status, the role that the education system plays in the reproduction of family advantage or disadvantage is not strong. However, its mediating role transcends academic success to other developmental domains, including self-esteem, social competence, stress, and overseas experience. The findings suggest the importance and potential of reducing these differences through modifications in the educational system as well as larger societal institutions.

Presenter’s profile:
Irene Y.H. Ng is an Associate Professor of Social Work in the National University of Singapore, and Director of the Social Service Research Centre. She holds a joint Ph.D. in Social Work and Economics from the University of Michigan. Her research areas include poverty and inequality, intergenerational mobility, youth crime, and social welfare policy. She is Principal Investigator of an evaluation of a national Work Support programme and Co-Principal Investigator of National Youth Surveys 2010 and 2013. She is engaged in various committees, for instance in the National Youth Council, the Chinese Development Assistance Council, Ministry of Social and Family Development, National Council of Social Service and Ministry of Manpower. Her teaching areas include poverty, policy, youth work, and programme planning. .

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

A Journey of Evaluating a Children's Programme

Presenter: Lin Xiaoling & Grace Yap
Organization: Singapore Children's Society
Time: 4pm to 5.30pm
Venue: EVANS room (Level 2), VENTUS, 8 Kent Ridge Drive, National University of Singapore

Abstract:
Programme evaluation is essential in ensuring that a programme is relevant and effective. However, collecting data from children, particularly pre-schoolers, presents challenges that are quite different from working with the adult population. This presentation will take you through a journey of evaluating a children’s programme, specifically the hurdles that were overcome along the way. The presenters will 1) Share about the process involved in designing an evaluation tool, and 2) Highlight the importance of pitching the evaluation tool to the cognitive abilities of young children The evaluation findings offered insights into whether the programme’s messages have been effectively conveyed to the children. With this, the team can further improve on the programme content and its delivery. Fellow practitioners running children’s programmes and services may find this session useful. The presenters also look forward to hearing from the audience on how they carry out evaluation of their children’s programmes.

Presenter’s profile:
This session will be presented by Lin Xiaoling and Grace Yap from the Research & Outreach Centre of Singapore Children’s Society. Together with two other colleagues, Xiaoling and Grace are from the Public Education team that is responsible for the content development and delivery of KidzLive: I Can Protect Myself, a programme that teaches body safety skills to pre-schoolers. KidzLive is an initiative to prevent child sexual abuse by empowering children to protect themselves; this programme has been carried out in pre-school centres since 2010. Xiaoling and Grace have recently presented on this programme and its evaluation at the 10th Asia Pacific Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

2015

What Questions Experimental Design Can and Cannot Answer in Program Evaluation

Presenter: Prof John C Ham
Time: 4pm to 5.30pm
Venue: EVANS room (Level 2), VENTUS, 8 Kent Ridge Drive, National University of Singapore

Abstract:
In this presentation I consider the National Support Work Experiment in the United States. In this experiment volunteers were assigned to a treatment group and a control group; the experimental group received subsidized jobs while there was no intervention for the controls. I show that one easily can read from the experimental data that the treatment raised the employment rate of the treatments after they left subsidized employment relative to the controls. However, experimental data alone cannot tell us whether this occurred because the treatments had shorter unemployment spells and/or longer employment spells in the future

Presenter’s profile:
John Ham received his BA from the University of Toronto and his PhD from Princeton University. He has been an Assistant and Associate Professor at Toronto, a Full Professor at Maryland, Ohio State, and Pittsburgh, and Professor and Chair at the University of Southern California. He joined the National University of Singapore permanently in January, 2015. He is currently an Associate Editor at the Journal of Econometrics and at Labour Economics, and previously was an Associate Editor at the Journal of Applied Econometrics and served on the NSF Review Panel. He has received grants from the JY Pillay Institute, NIA, NIH, NSF and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He has published in the American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Journal of Political Economy and the Review of Economic Studies, as well as in other journals. His research is in the general area of applied microeconomics, program evaluation, and theoretical econometrics.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Behavioral Economics:Evidence for Chronic Disease Prevention

Presenter: Prof Eric Andrew Finkelstein
Time: 4pm to 5.30pm
Venue: EVANS room (Level 2), VENTUS, 8 Kent Ridge Drive, National University of Singapore

Abstract:
This presentation will provide a brief introduction to rising rates of NCDs worldwide. It will then present an introduction to traditional and behavioral economic theories related to health behaviors and an overview of the role of economics in influencing behaviors related to NCDs. It will then present results of a literature review on the effectiveness of economic incentives (both traditional and behavioral) to influence behaviors related to NCDs, including results those from several of our Singapore studies.

Presenter’s profile:
Dr Eric A. Finkelstein, Ph.D., M.H.A. is the Executive Director of Lien Centre for Palliative Care and Professor of the Signature Research Program in Health Services and Systems Research at the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School and Research Professor at Duke University Global Health Institute. He received his BA in Mathematics/Economics from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in economics and Masters in Health Administration from the University of Washington. Over the past ten years Professor Finkelstein has established himself as a leading international health economist doing research in the economics of health behaviours. His research focuses on economic incentives, behavioural economics, the economics of obesity, discrete choice analysis, economic evaluation, burden of illness analysis and cost effectiveness analyses. He has published over 130 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 2 books, and several book chapters in these areas. He also has experience as a Principal or Co-Investigator on research projects funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His research has been showcased in the Economist, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and other television, print, and media outlets throughout the world.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Where the Rubber Meets the Road:
Navigating Performance Measurement for Social Services

Presenter: Dr Robyn Tan
Time: 4pm to 5.30pm
Venue: EVANS room (Level 2), VENTUS, 8 Kent Ridge Drive, National University of Singapore

Abstract:
The rise of the accountability movement has led to the proliferation of performance measurement among non-profit organisations. Performance measurement has been commonly adopted as a one-size-fits-all approach for measuring the outcomes of human services, but often without an adequate understanding of its conceptual basis or the interventions to which it is appropriate for. Findings from the study showed that performance measurement has largely lent itself well to measuring outcomes of interventions that reflect high “task programmability” (e.g. job placement and support programme). However, performance measurement when misapplied to interventions with low “task programmability” (e.g. casework and counselling) has led to weak programme logic and ill-defined outcomes. Given the complexity of human services, the client heterogeneity and the diversity of their problems and issues, the key challenge lies in understanding how performance measurement would work, for whom, and under what conditions, in order for it to have a reasonable chance of success.

Presenter’s profile:
Robyn is a Research Fellow with the Advocacy and Research Team at the National Council of Social Service. She has adopted a realist evaluation study to examine the performance management of social services, as part of her PhD thesis at the Institute for Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester, UK. Her research interests include applying theory-driven methodologies for the evaluation of social interventions.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Youth Antisocial Behavior: Pathways, Contexts and Social Work Practice

Presenter: Professor Ronald Feldman
Time: 3pm to 4.30pm
Venue: AS7-06-42 - FASS Research Division Seminar Room

During the seminar, Professor Ronald Feldman highlighted the High Base Rate Hypothesis by Loeber, as well as the Dynamic Cascade Model of Youth Violence by Dodge, Greenberg and Malone as important theories which describe the development of antisocial behaviors in youth. From the Dynamic Cascade Model of Youth Violence, Dr Feldman emphasized that one way to reduce antisocial behavior in youth is to reduce their contact with other antisocial youths. He further lends support to this argument by sharing the results of his study from the St Louis Experiment during the talk. (The St Louis Experiment has been documented in the book, the St Louis Conundrum.) From his study, he showed that grouping antisocial youths with prosocial peers may reduce the antisocial youths’ antisocial behaviors without producing any adverse consequences for the prosocial peers. In addition, his study also found that compared to non-experienced group workers, experienced group workers are able to create more significant improvements in the behavior of the antisocial youths, emphasizing their importance.

Transforming Social Services through Community Analytics:
Can this be done in Singapore?


Presenter: Professor Paul Cheung
Time: 3pm to 4.30pm
Venue: FASS Faculty Lounge

Presenter’s profile:
Professor Paul Cheung is Professor of Social Policy and Analytics at the National University of Singapore. He returned to Singapore in January 2013 after serving for 9 years as the Director of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York (2004-2012). At the UN, he facilitated the development of the global statistical system and coordinated the work of the United Nations Statistical Commission. He supervised a programme of work that included the development of international statistical standards, the dissemination of global statistical data, the provision of technical advice to member states in the development of national statistical systems, and the coordination of international statistical activities. Professor Cheung also had the responsibility of implementing UN mandates on geospatial information, cartography, and geographic names. In 2011, his initiative of establishing an inter-governmental platform to address issues on Global Geospatial Information Management was endorsed by the UN. This global multilateral mechanism explores all issues on geospatial information and a series of high level meetings have been held.

Abstract:
This seminar will discuss community analytics as an emerging area of research in the improvement of social service planning. Community analytics utilizes community information to assess, predict, and evaluate community behaviors, vulnerabilities and well-being. It pools community information from a variety of sources, both structured and unstructured. Structured data come mostly from official or administrative sources, while community sensors are used to source unstructured, real-time information from Twitter, Facebook, or even VGI (Volunteered Geographic Information). Pooled community information could be used for analysis in real time or post-facto through a variety of techniques, from 3-D modeling to story maps to public information portals.

The intention of community analytics is to assess and understand the current reality, to predict future trends, and to offer mitigation and adaptation strategies, so as to improve lives across social boundaries and generations. Our current social service protocol focuses largely on individuals or families, from problem identification to intervention strategies. An extension of this protocol to include community assessment may bring forth new insights. Could we incorporate such an approach in planning our social services? Could we develop robust analytics to measure community behaviors and vulnerabilities? This seminar will discuss these issues.

Dialogue Session with Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:
Envisioning Social Service: Research Needs and Challenges

Speaker: A/P Irene Y.H. Ng
Time: 12pm to 1.30pm
Venue: AS7-06-42 - FASS Research Division Seminar Room

Following the success of SSR’s first dialogue session with the Department of Social Work, the Centre organized another session with faculty members from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS). Faculty members from various departments in FASS were introduced to the Centre and research agenda. They in turn shared their area of research interests and possible areas of collaborations.

2014

Effect of the Work Support Programme on Well-being: Understanding Successes and Failures

Presenters: A/P Irene Y.H. Ng, Dr Mathew Mathews & A/P Ho Kong Weng
Time: 3pm to 5pm
Venue: AS3, 03-05

This presentation discusses findings from the evaluation of the ComCare Work Support Programme (WSP) administered by the Ministry of Social and Family Development in Singapore. The programme is needs-based, and provides non-permanent assistance to participants while providing case management for those who need it to overcome barriers to employment and improve participants’ financial situation.

With data of 689 beneficiaries at entry and exit of WSP, programme effects on economic and psychosocial well-being will be presented. The economic outcomes were related to employment, earnings and income. The social outcomes were likert-scale measures of psychological well-being such as self-efficacy, and general well-being such as happiness and satisfaction. The presentation offers several layers of analytical rigour. First, difference-in-difference regressions were used to study the effects of additional cash assistance and longer duration of assistance. Second, effects of cash amount and duration were analyzed by comparing the effects from groups that were randomly assigned with the effects of actual assistance as reflected in administrative data. Third, the quantitative findings are corroborated with findings from in-depth interviews with 56 of the beneficiaries.

The findings indicate that the programme improved family earnings somewhat, and that a longer duration of assistance and economic improvements lead to improved psychosocial well-being. However, psychosocial well-being generally declined. Implications of the findings on larger policy intervention as well as service design and delivery will be discussed.

Evaluation of a school-based group work intervention program for adolescents with excessive video-gaming

Presenters: Asst. Prof Hyekyung Choo, Ms Celestine Tan & Mr Lam Wai Mun
Time: 3pm to 5pm
Venue: FASS Faculty Lounge

This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of a school-based group work intervention program for secondary school students presenting pathological symptoms of excessive gaming. The intervention, designed and implemented by TOUCH Cyber-Wellness, was a 2 to 3.5 day long school-based program, consisting of a gaming behaviour awareness session, multiple intelligence profiling, structured team building and adventure learning sessions, outdoor activity engagement, and parent consultations, with the primary objective of reducing pathological/addiction symptoms of gaming and parent-child conflict, and the secondary objectives of reducing depression symptoms and improving resilience and self-regulation. A quasi-experimental study was executed with an intervention group of 75 secondary school students and a non-intervention group of 82. The post-intervention test was conducted with both of the groups at one month after completion of the program. Results from a series of t-tests and repeated measures ANOVA indicate that the program was effective in reducing gaming hours, gaming addiction symptoms and depression symptoms and increasing resilience and self-regulation scores after intervention, when compared to the non-intervention group. Findings from qualitative focus group data and recommendations for improving the intervention program will also be discussed.

Dialogue Session with Practitioners:
Envisioning Social Service: Research Needs and Challenges

Speakers: A/P Irene Y.H Ng, Dr Ong Qiyan
Time: 3pm to 5pm
Venue: FASS Faculty Lounge

Practitioners from the social service sector were invited to the session. The session opened with an introduction of SSR. Dr Ong Qiyan, Research Fellow at SSR, gave a short sharing on what it takes to embark on rigorous evaluations of social innovations. Thereafter, the participants were divided into three groups and invited to share their views on the following areas.

  1. Children and youth from vulnerable families
  2. Low income group
  3. Elderly and their service needs.

Dialogue Session with Department of Social Work:
Envisioning Social Service: Research Needs and Challenges

Speaker: A/P Irene Y.H. Ng
Time: 3pm to 4pm
Venue: Department of Social Work Meeting Room

This is SSR’s inaugural dialogue session with faculty members from the Department of Social Work. In this short sharing session, faculty members were introduced to the Centre, its staff and research agenda. Possible areas of collaborations were discussed.