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Conferences

SSR Conferences

Working with Low-income Families through the Life Course: Challenges to Social Services

Date: 18 July 2019, Thursday
Time: 9am - 6pm
Venue: Shaw Foundation Alumni House, 11 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119244
Room: Auditorium [Level 2]

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Registration

Closing Date for Early Bird Rate: 15 May 2019
Closing Date for Conference Registration: 3 June 2019


Register here

*CPE Credits Participants are eligible for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits with the Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW). One CPE credit will be awarded for each contact hour. Approval of CPE credits is to be submitted through the CPE Log Book under each accredited professional’s account.

*VCF Funding (Non-pre-approved Course) Local participants from voluntary welfare organisations can apply for VCF funding at least one month before the commencement, subjected to approval. The participant will pay for the full fee upfront to conference organizer and claim the reimbursement from the VCF secretariat upon successful application. Please refer to the website for more information.


More Information

Conference Abstract



Programme

Time Programme
8.30am Registration
9:00am Welcome Speech
Professor Paul Cheung
Chairman
Social Service Research Centre, National University of Singapore
9:15am Keynote Speech
Q&A Session
Ms Indranee Rajah
Minister, Prime Minister's Office
Second Minister for Education and Finance
9:55am Tea Break
10.20am Panel 1 : Early Childhood

Giving Infants from Low-income Families a Headstart: Insights from KIDS 0-3

Presenters:
A/P Winnie Goh
Programme Lead, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Ms Valerie Goh
Senior Medical Social Worker, KK Women's and Children's Hospital


Improving Early Childhood Outcomes for Children and Families : Lessons from our KidSTART Journey

Presenter:
Ms Seah Yang Hee
Director, Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA)

Panel 1 Discussion

Panel Moderator :
Dr Sum Chee Wah
Advisor, Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA)
11:20am Panel 2 : Childhood and School

Poor yet intimate : Parent-child closeness among low-income families in Singapore

Presenter:
A/P Esther Goh
Head of Department(Social Work), National University of Singapore


Aspirations and Outlook: Effects of SES and Youth Pathways

Presenters:
A/P Irene Ng
Director of Social Service Research Centre, National University of Singapore

Ms Nursila Senin
Research Executive, Social Service Research Centre, National University of Singapore

Panel 2 Discussion

Panel Moderator:
Dr Neo Yu Wei
Research Fellow, Social Service Research Centre, National University of Singapore
12.20pm Lunch
1.20pm Panel 3 : Making Ends Meet : Work and Family

Low Waged Work: Trends and Possibilities

Presenter:
A/P Irene Ng
Director of Social Service Research Centre, National University of Singapore


The Field Perceptions of Unlicensed Money Lenders

Presenter:
Mr Jansen Ang
Deputy Director, Singapore Police Force

Panel 3 Discussion

Panel Moderator:
Dr. Walter Theseira
Associate Professor of Economics, Singapore University of Social Sciences
2.20pm Panel 4: The Golden Years

Minimum Income Standards for Older People in Singapore: How Much is Enough?

Presenters:
Asst. Prof Ng Kok Hoe
Assistant Professor, National University of Singapore

A/P Teo You Yenn
Provost's Chair in Sociology, Head of Sociology, Nanyang Technological University

Dr Neo Yu Wei
Research Fellow, Social Service Research Centre, National University of Singapore

Dr Adlina Maulod
Research Fellow, National University of Singapore


Healthcare Affordability for the Future Elderly in Singapore

Presenter:
Mr Christopher Gee
Senior Research Fellow, National University of Singapore

Panel 4 Discussion

Panel Moderator :

Ms Long Chey May
Group Chief Patient Officer, National University Health System ;
President , Singapore Association of Social Workers (2017-2019)
3.20pm Tea break
3.45pm Panel 5 : Working with Low-income Families: Research Insights

Bleeding Hearts or Tough Love? How Do Social Workers Decide on Financial Assistance?

Presenters:
Dr Ong Qiyan
Deputy Director (Research) of Social Service Research Centre, National University of Singapore

Dr Neo Yu Wei
Research Fellow, Social Service Research Centre, National University of Singapore


Social Participation among Low-income Families

Presenter:
Dr Neo Yu Wei
Research Fellow, Social Service Research Centre, National University of Singapore

A/P Noor Aisha Binte Abdul Rahman
Head, Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore

Panel 5 Discussion

Panel Moderator :
Ms Cindy Ng
Director - Professional Standards, Methodist Welfare Services
4.45pm Panel 6: Working with Low-income Families : Practice Insights

Providing More Comprenhensive , Convenient and Coordinated Help to Low-income and Vulnerable families

Presenter:
Ms Denise Low
Director, Social Policy and Services Group, Ministry of Social and Family Development

The Role of Community in Catalyzing Social Mobility

Presenter:
Ms Cindy Ng
Director- Professional Standards, Methodist Welfare Services

Learn to Read or Read to Learn? Insights from a Community-based Reading Programme for Children from Low-income Families: Shining Star Reads

Presenter:
Ms Francesca Phoebe Wah Li Ting
Founder and Director, Bringing Love to Every Single Soul (Singapore)

Panel 6 Discussion

Panel Moderator :
A/P Irene Y.H.Ng
Director of Social Service Research Centre, National University of Singapore
5:45pm Round up: A Poll-Based consolidation
6:00pm End

SSR Conference 2017: Innovative Approaches in Community and Institutional Rehabilitation of Offenders

Post-Conference

Media Reports

The Straits Times, 28 July 2017, Home, pB10

Berita Harian, 28 July 2017, p2

Tamil Murasu, 28 July 2017, p3

Photos

Click here to photos from the conference.


Date: 27 July 2017, Thursday
Time: 9.30am to 5.45pm
Venue: Kent Ridge Guild House, NUSS, 9 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119241
Room: Guild Hall

The 2017 conference aims to consolidate both local and international knowledge in alternative interventions and restorative justice. Coverage includes both juvenile and adult offenders. Conference proceedings will be compiled into a book publication, which will serve as a guide to illuminate some of the “best practices” in the field of rehabilitation, restoration and alternatives to custody.

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Registration

Closing Date for Early Bird Rate and Sponsorship Application: 9thJune 2017
Closing Date for Conference Registration: 27thJune 2017


Register here

*CPE Credits Participants are eligible for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits with the Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW). One CPE credit will be awarded for each contact hour. Approval of CPE credits is to be submitted through the CPE Log Book under each accredited professional’s account.

*VCF Funding (Non-pre-approved Course) Local participants from voluntary welfare organisations can apply for VCF funding at least one month before the commencement, subjected to approval. The participant will pay for the full fee upfront to conference organizer and claim the reimbursement from the VCF secretariat upon successful application. Please refer to the website for more information.


  • ASEAN Delegates - Sponsorship

  • Six ASEAN participants will be selected for sponsorship. Delegates from ASEAN countries who wish to receive sponsorship are required to submit the following information via email fasbox56@nus.edu.sg.

        –  Personal CV
        –  Area of Work
        –  Write-up on relevance of job to conference (200 words)
        –  Write-up on how this conference would be beneficial to your area of work (200 words)

    Sponsorship will cover these items:

        1. Accommodation (selected location provided by NUS)
             a.  Maximum of 2 nights stay

        2. Airfare
             a.  Most economical and direct flight (round-trip)

    *Incomplete submissions will not be considered for selection.

    Programme

    Time Programme
    9:30am Welcome and introductions by Emcee
    9:35am Welcome by Conference Organizers
    9:45am Opening Speech by Guest of Honour
    Mr Desmond Lee
    Minister, Prime Minister's Office
    Second Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of National Development
    10:00am Keynote Speech I

    Enhancing Corrections, Transforming Lives - A Singapore Perspective
    Mr Desmond Chin
    Commissioner of Prisons, Singapore Prison Service [SPS]
    10:50am Tea Break
    11:20am Panel 1 : Positive Pathways for Positives Outcomes

    Formal alternatives to prosecution and informal diversionary Initiatives in Hong Kong: Current Practices and Challenges.
    Professor Dennis Wong
    City University of Hong Kong

    The Empowered Community
    Ms Ting Siew Ling
    Senior Assistant Director, Probation and Community Rehabilitation Services, Rehabilitation and Protection Group, Ministry of Social and Family Development

    Court Processes and Orders for Positive Outcome
    District Judge Lim Keng Yeow
    State Courts of Singapore
    12:30pm Panel 2: In-care Intervention and Preparation for Life Beyond Institutions

    Restorative justice as healing justice for prisons and the post-sentencing stage'
    Professor Elmar Weitekamp
    Institute of Criminology, University of Tubingen [Germany]

    Evaluation of a Throughcare Rehabilitation Regime for High-Risk Offenders
    Ms Yvonne Kirk
    Rehabilitation Evaluation Executive, Rehabilitation Evaluation Branch, Singapore Prison Service [SPS]

    Restoring the Social in Offender Reintegration
    Associate Professor Ganapathy Narayanan
    National University of Singapore [NUS]
    1:40pm Lunch
    2.40pm Panel 3: Rebuilding lives in community

    The Five Core Facilitators of Well-Being Development: A New Approach to Successful Prisoner Reentry into the Community
    Assistant Professor Carrie Pettus Davis
    Washington University in St. Louis

    Insights from a Collaborative Family-centric Aftercare Pilot: Project SAFE
    Mr Charles Tan
    Assistant Director, Children, Youth & Family, Service Planning & Development Group, National Council of Social Service (NCSS)

    Education - Beyond unlocking the Second Prison
    Ms Lin Mingjie
    Senior Social Worker, Singapore After-Care Association [SACA]

    Supporting youths beyond borders: Growing resilience
    Ms Yeo Bee Lian
    Assistant Director, Head, Community & Youth Services Division, TRYBE
    4.00pm Tea break
    4:30pm Panel Discussion: Reflections for the Future

    Panel Members
    Ms Elaine Loo
    Director, Social Development & Central Youth Guidance Office, Ministry of Social and Family Development

    Mr Prem Kumar
    Director, Singapore After-Care Association [SACA]

    Mr Timothy Leo
    Director, Psychological and Correctional Rehabilitation Division, Singapore Prison Service

    Mr Umardani Umle
    Doctoral Researcher, University of Glasgow
    5:30pm Closing summary & remarks
    5:45pm End

    Visit our Facebook page to be part of the action on conference day!

    Date: 21 April 2016, Thursday
    Time: 9.30am to 5.15pm
    Venue: Kent Ridge Guild House, NUSS, 9 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119241
    Room: Guild Hall

    The 2016 conference aims to showcase local research that provides understanding of how disadvantaged families in Singapore can be better served. The specific conference goals include:

    (i) Showcasing local research related to low-income families, thus providing participants with an understanding of low-income families and effectiveness of interventions with them;

    (ii) Enabling the cross fertilization of ideas to improve policy and services for low-income families by bringing together academics, professionals and policy makers; and

    (iii) Crafting strategic research partnerships centered on low-income issues.


    Time Program
    9:30am Registration and Breakfast
    10:00am Arrival of Guest-of-Honour and Advisor to SSR
    Mr Goh Chok Tong
    Emeritus Senior Minister
    10:05am Welcome Remarks
    A/P S Vasoo
    Associate Professorial Fellow, Department of Social Work; Chair of Advisory Board, SSR; National University of Singapore
    10:10am Keynote Address by Guest-of-Honour
    10:30am Session 1: Assets and Low-income Families

    Health Matters: The Economic and Psychological Impact of Poor Health on the Working Poor
    A/P Irene Y.H. Ng
    Associate Professor, Department of Social Work; Director, SSR, National University of Singapore

    Public Rental Housing in Singapore: Professional Perceptions and Policy Implications
    Dr Ng Kok Hoe
    Assistant Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

    Dr Neo Yu Wei
    Senior Lecturer, UniSIM College, SIM University

    Unpacking Debts and their Effects on Low-income Households
    Dr Ong Qiyan
    Research Fellow, SSR, National University of Singapore

    Dr Walter Theseira
    Senior Lecturer, UniSIM College, SIM University
    11:30am Lunch
    12:45pm Session 2: Working Cross-culturally

    Minority Report: Malays Reaching Malays
    Ms Nur Hilyah Bte Saparin
    Deputy Director, Clinical, AMKFSC Community Services

    Watch the (Care) Gap: Class Differentials in the Struggle for Work-life Balance
    A/P Teo You Yenn
    Associate Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University

    Transnational Families: An Environmental Scan
    Ms Alyssa Rose Fernandez
    Researcher, Feiyue Community Services
    1:45pm Session 3: Interventions Across Life Stages

    Data Profiling, A Learning Journey
    Ms Prema Mohan
    Principal Social Worker, Thye Hua Kwan, Family Service Centres

    Mr Leo Lee
    Assistant Senior Social Worker, Thye Hua Kwan, Family Service Centres

    HEALTH Planning – A Holistic Model in Understanding Elderly Population
    Ms Cheong Ee May Deidre
    Principal Medical Social Worker, Medical Social Services, Jurong Health Services

    CSC Time Use Survey: Selected Preliminary Findings
    Mr Lim Wen Hui Leon
    Lead Researcher, Institute of Governance & Policy, Civil Service College
    2:45pm Tea Break
    3:15pm Panel Discussion with Sector Leaders: Working Together Holistically to Uplift Low-Income Families in our City State: Hierarchy or Pluralism?

    Chair
    Professor Paul Cheung
    Professor, Department of Social Work; Chair of Steering Committee, SSR; National University of Singapore

    Panel Members
    Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng
    Mayor, Central Singapore District

    A/P Ho Kong Chong
    Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore

    Ms Lee Yean Wun
    Principal Social Worker, Kampong Kapor Family Service Centre
    4:15pm Mini Research Clinic

    Facilitator
    A/P Irene Y.H. Ng
    Associate Professor, Department of Social Work; Director SSR, National University of Singapore
    5:00pm Closing Remarks
    Professor Paul Cheung
    Professor, Department of Social Work; Chair of Steering Committee, SSR; National University of Singapore
    5:15pm End


    2016-Post Conference


    2016 SSR Conference Proceedings

    Click below to download the PDF of the conference proceedings.

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    Hard copy of the conference proceedings will be available for purchase from our office or at SSR events at $10 from Jan 2017

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    "The SSR conference is now shaping up to be the annual platform for researchers and practitioners to discuss social issues properly and we’re so pleased to be a part of it"

    "My colleagues and I truly benefited from the conference, and personally brought back a lot of insights that I’m continuing to reflect over. I really believe that conferences like this would help encourage more practitioners to embark on research and contribute to the dialogue for the benefit of our clients"

    HIGHLIGHTS

    The plight of low-income families in Singapore and how policies and services could be relooked to help this vulnerable group were surfaced at a conference titled “Working with Low-Income Families in Singapore: Challenges and Innovations” organised by the Social Service Research Centre (SSR) at NUS Arts and Social Sciences on 21 April. SSR Advisor Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who launched the Centre dedicated to local social intervention research last April, graced the event as Guest-of-Honour. In his keynote address, Mr Goh highlighted the valuable role of research in strengthening evidence-based policies and professional practice in working with vulnerable families, as well as deepening our understanding of effective intervention models and approaches. He added that in order to empower these families and find solutions to social issues, stronger linkages between the government, community partners and academia are required. “This SSR conference brings together partners from all three units. It is an important platform for knowledge to be shared, ideas exchanged and the links between the theory of social science research, government policies and the practical aspects of implementation on the ground, strengthened,” said Mr Goh. Through a series of informative sessions on topics ranging from health and housing to debt and cultural demographics, the conference, held at the NUS Society Kent Ridge Guild House, showcased local research efforts and provided participants with a greater understanding of low-income families. Bringing together more than 300 academics, professionals and policy makers, it also facilitated the cross-fertilisation of ideas aimed at improving policies and services for this sector of society. The conference kicked off with presentations of three research studies undertaken — a discussion by SSR Director Associate Professor Irene Ng from NUS Social Work on how poor health affects employment both directly, as well as indirectly through a sense of reduced personal mastery; a study by Assistant Professor Ng Kok Hoe from the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and Dr Neo Yu Wei, Senior Lecturer at SIM University, on the perceptions of social workers with regard to public rental housing issues and its implications on policy recommendations; and a project by SSR Research Fellow Dr Ong Qiyan and Dr Walter Theseira, Senior Lecturer at SIM University, which examined the effectiveness of a debt-relief programme and how factors such as educational level and debt repayment strategy could cause debt and poverty, and affect day-to-day functioning. Summing up the purpose of the conference, Assoc Prof Ng said, “In a way it’s kind of hypocritical of us; we’re here privileged, in power, talking about low-income families in this air-conditioned place, but we need this because we need to understand…to do better.”

    NEWS MEDIA

    The Straits Times Online, 21 April 2016

    TODAY Online, 21 April 2016

    Channel NewsAsia, 21 April 2016

    The Straits Times, 22 April 2016, Home, pB6

    Lianhe Zaobao, 22 April 2016, p12

    My Paper, 22 April 2016, pB2

    Tamil Murasu, 22 April 2016, p3

    PHOTOS

    Click here to photos from the conference.

    Transforming Social Services: Innovation, Evaluation, Impact

    More than 150 participants attended the Social Service Research Centre's (SSR) inaugural conference and launch. Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, advisor to the SSR, delivered the keynote address for the launch. He highlighted the importance of evolving more effective services and social innovations to cope with the “social climate change”.

    This was a central theme in the presentations that followed: how can we translate research into action, and conduct program evaluation that will impact both policy and clients? Our speakers stressed the need to have the right motivation when evaluating a program. The purpose of a program evaluation is not only to ask whether a program worked, but more importantly why it worked or why it did not work. This is especially important when a program does not achieve the same level of effectiveness as expected. When this occurs, it is critical for leaders of organizations to provide a safe and constructive environment for agency staff to use their insights from the evaluation exercise to fine-tune the program and try again.

    The conference concluded with a dialogue session with Mr. Phillip Tan, Vice President of NCSS, Chairman of Community Chest and Chairman of the Care & Share Steering Committee. He voiced his belief that collaboration would improve the evaluation process. He reiterated that NCSS would continue to support programs even if evaluation results were unfavourable, and would work together with agencies to help improve these programs. The SSR is similarly committed to working with policymakers and practitioners to develop a new research culture in social services.

    Date: 24th April 2015, Friday
    Time: 8.30am to 5.30pm
    Venue: Kent Ridge Guild House, NUSS, 9 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119241
    Room: Guild Hall


    Program

    Social services hold the key to altering the well-being trajectory of those in need of care and protection. In an age where social needs are increasing faster than public budgets, the success and effectiveness of social services have become more important than ever. How can we maximize the benefits from available public budgets, infrastructure and human capital to improve the outcomes of those in need?

    Evaluating policies is the first step towards a better understanding of resource allocation. In recent years, social researchers and practitioners have made tremendous progress in applying high levels of scientific rigor to the evaluation of social policies. It is hence timely to review the developments and findings from these evaluation studies.

    The conference will gather international and local academics and practitioners to share their experience on overcoming challenges in social service evaluations as well as their views on how social services evaluation will aid in the development and shaping of future social innovations.

    Through providing a platform for research and field knowledge sharing, the conference will bridge the understanding between researchers and practitioners with the hope of facilitating future research partnerships.



    Time Program
    9:00am Registration
    9:30am Arrival of Guest-of-Honour and Advisor to SSR
    Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong
    9:35am Welcome and Introduction of SSR
    Professor Paul Cheung, Chairman of Steering Committee, SSR, NUS
    9:40am Opening Remarks by NUS Provost
    Professor Tan Eng Chye, Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost, NUS
    9:50am Keynote Speech by Guest-of-Honour and Advisor to SSR
    Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong
    10:00am Official Launch of SSR and Photo Taking
    Break
    10:45am Plenary Session I
    Making an Impact: Rigorous Evaluations in Partnership

    Testing Social Welfare Innovations with Randomized Control Trials
    Dr James Riccio, Director of the Low-Wage Workers and Communities Policy Area, MDRC

    Working with Government Departments to Develop Robust Evidence
    Dr Richard Dorsett, Principal Research Fellow and Director of Policy Evaluation,
    National Institute of Economic and Social Research

    Facilitated by:
    Dr Ng Kok Hoe, Assistant Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS
    11:50am Programme Evaluation: Local Practices and Training Needs
    Dr Chu Chi Meng, Senior Assistant Director & Principal Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, Ministry of Social and Family Development

    Methodological Issues and Practical Considerations in Social Service Program Evaluation
    Dr Choo Hyekyung, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, NUS

    Facilitated by:
    A/P Corinne Ghoh, Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, NUS
    12:55pm Lunch
    2:00pm Plenary Session II
    Meeting New challenges: Social Innovation and Evaluation

    Integrating Rigorous Evaluation with Policy Innovation
    Mr. Héctor Salazar Salame, Executive Director, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab,
    SE Asia

    Supporting Innovation and Implementation of an Evidence-Based Practice: Lessons Learned
    Professor Mary C. Ruffolo, Professor of Social Work and Director of Continuing Education Program, University of Michigan

    Facilitated by:
    Dr Mathew Mathews, Senior Research Fellow, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS
    3:05pm Panel Discussion on Singapore Innovations

    The Family Development Programme (FDP) for Low-Income Families: Efforts of a VWO towards evidence-based practice
    Mrs Cindy Ng-Tay, Assistant Director, Methodist Welfare Services - Covenant Family Service Centre

    Evaluation of Self Care Program on the Health of Older People in Singapore
    Ms Susana Harding, Director, International Longevity Centre Singapore, Tsao Foundation

    Strategic Research Partnerships of Social Service Research Centre (SSR)
    A/P Irene Y.H. Ng, Director, SSR, NUS

    Facilitated by:
    Dr Alexander Lee, Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Work, NUS
    4:10pm Break
    4:40pm Dialogue Session with Mr. Phillip Tan, Chairman of Community Chest, Singapore
    Transforming Social Services in Singapore: Challenges and Promises

    Facilitated by:
    Professor Paul Cheung, Chairman of Steering Committee, SSR, NUS
    A/P Irene Y.H. Ng, Director, SSR, NUS
    5:30pm Closing Remarks


    Speakers

    Dr James Riccio

    James
    Dr. James Riccio is Director of MDRC’s Low-Wage Workers and Communities policy area, which tests innovative policies to improve labor market, human capital, and quality-of-life outcomes for low-income populations, usually through randomized controlled trials. In addition to overseeing the work of his department, Dr. Riccio currently serves as the principal investigator for MDRC’s evaluation of the Family Rewards two-generation conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs for low-income families in New York City and Memphis, Tennessee. In addition, under a contract with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, he is directing a test of an alternative rent policy designed to increase work outcomes for recipients of housing subsidies in four cities. From 2003-2011, Dr. Riccio led an MDRC-UK research consortium (including 4 British organizations as subcontractors) that designed and evaluated the UK Employment Retention and Advancement (UK ERA) demonstration, at the time Britain’s largest and most comprehensive randomized trial in social policy, under a contract with the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). He now serves as on an expert advisory panel for DWP’s evaluation of Universal Credit, Britain’s major new welfare reform initiative. Over his long career at MDRC, Dr. Riccio has also been a lead researcher on evaluations of a variety of welfare-to-work, employment programs for residents of public housing, and other initiatives. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University.

    Testing Social Welfare Innovations with Randomized Control Trials Testing Social Welfare Innovations with Randomized Control Trials

    This presentation will discuss the growing role of evidence in social welfare policymaking in the United States. It will also illustrate one process for designing and testing innovative policies with an example of an ambitious pilot project that sought to reduce two-generation poverty in New York City. Called Opportunity NYC—Family Rewards, the project offered monetary rewards tied to children’s educational achievements, family preventive health care activities, and parents’ employment. The project was overseen by the city government, but funded, operated, and evaluated by private agencies. The effectiveness of the intervention is being assessed with a random assignment experiment. The presentation will discuss the latest results from the evaluation and their implications for policy.



    Dr Richard Dorsett

    Richard
    Dr Richard Dorsett is Director of Policy Evaluation at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in London. He specialises in the fields of welfare, employment and education/training. His experience covers both large-scale government evaluations and smaller-scale studies. His particular expertise is in impact analysis and he has led numerous projects using both experimental and non-experimental techniques.

    Current evaluations include the Work Programme (the main UK back-to-work service) for the UK Department for Work and Pensions; technology in adult learning (a randomised control trial assigning learners to either traditional or blended learning) for the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills, BIS); Traineeships (a voluntary scheme to improve the employability of young people with skills below the level required for an apprenticeship) for BIS; a support scheme for released prisoners (the results of which will be used to calculate payment due to investors in a social impact bond) for the UK Ministry of Justice. He is also part of a World Bank led team designing a survey of nationals, ex-pats and employers in Saudi Arabia. He has previously acted as Specialist Adviser to the UK House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Manchester.

    Working with Government Departments to Develop Robust Evidence

    This presentation will focus on the nature of partnership working between research organisations and government departments in the UK. It will describe evolving attitudes to evidence and discuss arrangements that have been put in place to encourage productive relationships. With a particular focus on randomised control trials, it will describe how evaluation opportunities can be built into the policy process and will offer some thoughts on how to achieve high-quality yet affordable evidence of what works. A number of recent labour market evaluations will be presented as examples of these points.


    Dr Chu Chi Meng

    Chu Chi
    Dr. Chu Chi Meng is a registered psychologist in Australia and Singapore, and also an Associate Fellow, Chartered Psychologist, and Chartered Scientist of the British Psychological Society. Dr. Chu is currently the Principal Clinical and Forensic Psychologist at the Clinical and Forensic Psychology Branch, Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). He concurrently heads the Centre for Research on Rehabilitation and Protection (MSF) as a Senior Assistant Director. In addition, Dr. Chu is an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore.

    Programme Evaluation: Local Practices and Training Needs

    There is increasing awareness within the public and social service sector about programme evaluation in the past decade within the local context. With limited resources, agencies across the sectors are increasingly required to justify the funding for their programmes through proper evaluation of outcomes and processes. This presentation will describe the programme evaluation efforts at the Ministry of Social and Family Development. In addition, the preliminary findings from a survey on evaluation activities and training needs will also be presented. Future directions with regard to programme evaluation will be discussed.


    Dr Choo Hyekyung

    Hyekung
    Dr Hyekyung Choo is an assistant professor at the Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore. She received her PhD from University of Pennsylvania and her MSW from Temple University. Her research areas cover adolescents’ health risk behaviours and video-gaming addiction and social service program evaluation. She has undertaken two large scales surveys on Singapore adolescents’ health risk behaviours and video-gaming, and is currently conducting evaluation research on an intervention program for adolescents’ video-gaming addiction. Her recent publications include “Pathological video-gaming among Singaporean youth: A two year longitudinal study” co-authored and published in Paediatrics (2011), "Pathological video-gaming among Singaporean youth” in Annals Academy Of Medicine, Singapore (2010) which received Silver Award for Best Publications of the Journal in 2010 together with her co-authors, and “Health risk behaviours of foreign-born adolescents in Singapore: Exploration of risk factors in an Asian context” in British Journal Of Social Work (2010) with her colleague.

    Methodological Issues and Practical Considerations in Social Service Program Evaluation

    Evaluation of the effectiveness of a social service program is often encountered by various methodological challenges and practical constraints in the process of its implementation. While a range of common issues arising from program evaluation has been identified by many evaluation researchers and practitioners, how to address them is hardly discussed. Based on firsthand knowledge of conducting evaluation studies in direct social service settings, this presentation delineates those common issues and challenges laid in different segments of program evaluation (intervention, outcome, control/comparison group, sample, and timeline), and discusses some points for consideration and potential alternatives to rigorous yet infeasible evaluation designs.


    Mr. Héctor Salazar Salame

    Hector
    Mr. Héctor Salazar Salame joined J-PAL SEA in August 2012. As Executive Director, he is developing the regional office’s portfolio of projects and growing its institutional presence in Indonesia and the Southeast Asia region. In the years prior to joining J-PAL, Héctor held positions in the New York City Office of the Mayor as well as with international and local NGOs working in Latin America and Indonesia. During this time, he researched, designed and managed initiatives in the fields of poverty reduction, election observation, labour rights advocacy and community participation. Héctor holds a Masters degree in City Planning from MIT (2011) with a focus on Political Economy and an Undergraduate degree in International Affairs from James Madison University (2004). Originally from Mexico, Héctor is natively fluent in Spanish and English. He is also proficient in Bahasa Indonesia.

    Integrating Rigorous Evaluation with Policy Innovation

    In Indonesia there is an increasing interest in and demand for evidence-based policy innovation, as well as a push to reform existing social protection programs. With this opportunity also comes the challenge of being able to identify and respond quickly to demands for rigorous evidence to inform policy-making. This presentation will discuss J-PAL SEA's approach to engagement with government agencies and other key stakeholders in Indonesia to rigorously test policy innovations and reforms. The presentation will also highlight examples of how J-PAL SEA has collaborated with the Government to integrate rigorous evaluations into the policy-making process, including a recent RCT on Indonesia's subsidized rice program (Raskin) that informed national level policy changes reaching over 15.5 million poor households.


    Professor Mary C. Ruffolo

    Mary C.
    Professor Mary Ruffolo’s research focuses on organizational factors that influence sustaining evidence based interventions/programs in community mental health settings, adapting efficacious interventions for children and youth experiencing serious mental health challenges, and addressing ways to disseminate interventions with at-risk populations (e.g., families of children with serious mental illness, adults with severe mental illness). She is involved in evaluating initiatives focusing on integrating behavioral health and primary care. She is committed to research that addresses the needs of vulnerable populations served by the health and behavioral health public systems.

    As director of the continuing education program, she is facilitating the instructional technology initiatives within the school to better meet the needs of students and professionals. Her efforts focus on the development of courses and interdisciplinary web-based certificates using a range of digital and web-based instructional technologies to enhance learning.

    Supporting Innovation and Implementation of an Evidence-Based Practice: Lessons Learned

    Many evidence-based interventions/innovations fail to translate into routine care for adults and youth experiencing significant mental health disorders. Moving the evidence-based intervention from the controlled research settings to the broader mental health systems is an ongoing challenge for administrators and practitioners in the mental health delivery network. Using the Family Psychoeducation evidence-based practice, as an example, this presentation will examine the challenges and lessons learned from implementing this evidence-based practice into routine care in the public mental health system. This presentation will also explore the key sustainability issues once the implementation phase is over.Building organizational infrastructures supports will be highlighted.


    Mrs Cindy Ng-Tay

    Cindy
    Mrs Cindy Ng-Tay is the Assistant Director of Methodist Welfare Services - Covenant Family Service Centre. She received her Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) and Master of Social Sciences (Social Work) from the National University of Singapore.

    Cindy is a registered social worker and works with low income families and families experiencing violence and abuse. Over the years, she has developed, executed and evaluated programmes that help low income families cope with the stresses they experience in their lives. She has also engaged in community work in Hougang and works closely with a team of social workers in engaging the vulnerable groups in their service boundary.

    Cindy is passionate about issues relating to poverty, income inequality and social mobility. She believes in developing evidence-based intervention in social work practice.

    The Family Development Programme (FDP) For Low Income Families: Efforts of a Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO) Towards Evidence Based Practice

    Individuals in a culture of poverty produce little income and accumulate little wealth. It is no surprise that the poor carries with them more risk factors which may render them susceptible to greater poverty and unable to move up the social ladder. The poor in Singapore are found to be burdened with debts and very little savings. 90% of the families in the FDP has less than $100 in their savings accounts and have a median household debt of $2,000 to $3,000. In the face of overwhelming debts, insufficient income and little savings, the poor is paralyzed by their financial difficulties and unmotivated to think about how they can improve their financial situation.

    The FDP, a 12 month programme, aims to help families increase their nett worth through the reduction of debts. The programme also aims to increase their sense of mastery over their financial difficulties. 80 families who are struggling with debts were recruited in March 2014 and randomly assigned to an intervention group or a control group. Participants in the intervention group receive financial coaching of up to 10 hours across the 12 months and have their payment of debt matched dollar for dollar up to a cap of $100 per month.

    This presentation discusses the profile of the families in the FDP, the evaluation design adopted and the impact of the programme on the low income families.


    Ms Susana Harding

    Susana
    Ms Susana is the Director of the International Longevity Centre Singapore, an initiative of the Tsao Foundation – a Singapore based but regionally oriented not-for profit operational foundation dedicated to aged care and ageing issues. Susana provides overall direction and leadership to the foundation’s research and policy advocacy initiatives and she develops new programmes that support active ageing and enhance our elders’ participation in the community.

    Susana has been working with the Tsao Foundation for 13 years and prior to this, she had 15 years of experience in community development and non-profit sector. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Santo Tomas University, Philipines and a Master in Public Administration from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

    Evaluation of Self Care Program on the Health of Older People in Singapore

    The SCOPE Program is a community development intervention that aimed at building the knowledge, skills and attitude of older Singaporeans to practice self-care and manage chronic diseases better, with the long-term goal of helping sustain good functional status and quality of life. The program also aimed to build a support system among cohorts and empower older persons to continue on taking good care of each other even beyond the program’s duration. This is the first health education and health promotion programme that targeted community dwelling older people.

    The pilot programme was implemented from June 2011 until January 2014. This program was evaluated using RCT by a research team, led by A/P Angelique Chan, from FASS, NUS and Duke-NUS.


    A/P Irene Y.H Ng

    Irene
    A/P 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.

    Strategic Research Partnerships of Social Service Research Centre (SSR)

    This presentation rounds up the conference with a description of some of the strategic research partnerships that SSR has developed since its inception. These include evaluations of pilot programs by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), a large-scale evaluation of debt management programmes, and an environmental scan of transnational families. The partnerships illustrate the possibilities for academic-practice and academic-policy research collaborations that are meaningful, practical and rigorous. In offering learning points from forging such partnerships, the presentation also highlights SSR’s strategic focus on projects of longer term significance. Projects in the pipeline will bear the imprint of SSR’s vision and research standard.


    Mr Phillip Tan

    Phillip
    Mr Phillip is currently the Vice President of NCSS, Chairman of Community Chest and Chairman of the Care & Share Steering Committee. He has served in NCSS and Community Chest in various capacities since 1983 and has been involved with a number of Social Service Charitable Organisations in Singapore for the last 30 years. The organisations which he has been involved in include Apex Club of Singapore, Tsao Foundation, Yellow Ribbon Fund, Mount Alvernia Hospital and Thye Hua Kuan Moral Charities Ltd.

    With his background of a professional accountant, he had contributed and advised on the governance and accountability of a number of nonprofit organisations.


    Professor Paul Cheung

    Paul
    Professor Paul Cheung is currently a professor of social policy and analytics at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He joined NUS in 2013 after serving as the Director of United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and the Secretariat of the UN Committee on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) for 9 years (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 also managed a diverse programme of work implementing UN mandates on global geospatial information, cartography, and geographic names. His initiative to establish the UN-GGIM was endorsed by ECOSOC in 2011. Prior to joining the UN, he was the Chief Statistician of Singapore from 1991-2004, managing and coordinating the national statistical system of Singapore. He was awarded in 2001 the Public Administration Gold Medal by the Government of Singapore for his leadership in modernizing Singapore’s census and statistical systems. He has received awards and medals from governments, universities and international organizations. He is now senior advisor to a number of countries on national planning and statistical systems. He is also the Chair of International Steering Committee on Global Mapping. His current research project focuses on evolving the next generation of global information infrastructure, integrating ‘big data’, official statistics and geospatial information for decision support.

    He was awarded in 2001 the Public Administration Gold Medal by the Government of Singapore for his leadership in modernizing Singapore’s census and statistical systems. He has received awards and medals from governments, universities and international organizations. He is now senior advisor to a number of countries on national planning and statistical systems. He is also the Chair of International Steering Committee on Global Mapping. His current research project focuses on evolving the next generation of global information infrastructure, integrating ‘big data’, official statistics and geospatial information for decision support.

    Workshops

    23 April 2015
    SSR Professional Development Workshop

    During the workshop, social service research experts from Singapore, Indonesia, United Kingdom and the United States provided practical knowledge on program evaluation design and implementation to the 80 participants, consisting of policy makers, academics, students, and social service practitioners. The experts shared their experiences in conducting social service evaluations in their respective countries of study and discussed practical concerns such as cost, sampling techniques, research rigor and implementation barriers and solutions. The experts and workshop participants also had an insightful discussion of the benefits and reasons for conducting randomized control trials, including ethical concerns.

    The workshop ended with a hands-on session conducted by the SSR research staff and associates. Participants from different organizations worked together to apply the knowledge gained from the earlier sessions in designing their own evaluation program, sharing with each other the programs provided in their own agencies and their understanding of the clients. Towards the end of this session, participants presented and received immediate feedback for their evaluation program. This interaction also provided an avenue for them to share their practical experiences and encourage collaborations in the future.

    This workshop will provide practitioners with a deeper understanding in implementing program evaluation through talks by our international conference speakers. A research clinic will also be conducted during the workshop where participants will have an opportunity to propose an evaluation design and receive immediate feedback.


    REGISTRATION IS CLOSE

    REGISTRATION DETAILS
    FEE: $30 PER PARTICIPANT
    Registration fee includes full workshop kit, 2 tea breaks and 1 lunch
    Date: 23rd April 2015, Thursday
    Time: 8.30am to 5.30pm
    Venue: Kent Ridge Guild House, NUSS, 9 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119241
    Rooms: Dalvey & Evans

    Time Program
    8:30am Registration
    9:00am Session 1: Overview of Program Evaluation

    Mr. Héctor Salazar Salame, Executive Director, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab,
    SE Asia
    10:00am Break
    10:30am Session 2: Understanding and Applying Randomization Techniques

    Dr James Riccio, Director of the Low-Wage Workers and Communities Policy Area, MDRC
    11:30am Session 3: Challenges in Implementation and How to Overcome Them

    Dr Richard Dorsett, Principal Research Fellow and Director of Policy Evaluation,
    National Institute of Economic and Social Research
    12:30pm Lunch
    2:00pm Session 4: Balancing Rigor and Practicality

    Professor Mary C. Ruffolo, Professor of Social Work and Director of Continuing Education Program, University of Michigan
    3:00pm Break
    3:30pm Session 5: Research Clinic
    (Session for participants to discuss design of potential program evaluations and measurement of outcomes)

    Facilitated by: A/P Irene Y.H. Ng, Director, Social Service Research Centre, NUS Dr Qiyan Ong, Research Fellow, Social Service Research Centre, NUS
    5:30pm End of Workshop

    Mr. Héctor Salazar Salame

    Hector
    Mr. Héctor Salazar Salame joined J-PAL SEA in August 2012. As Executive Director, he is developing the regional office’s portfolio of projects and growing its institutional presence in Indonesia and the Southeast Asia region. In the years prior to joining J-PAL, Héctor held positions in the New York City Office of the Mayor as well as with international and local NGOs working in Latin America and Indonesia. During this time, he researched, designed and managed initiatives in the fields of poverty reduction, election observation, labour rights advocacy and community participation. Héctor holds a Masters degree in City Planning from MIT (2011) with a focus on Political Economy and an Undergraduate degree in International Affairs from James Madison University (2004). Originally from Mexico, Héctor is natively fluent in Spanish and English. He is also proficient in Bahasa Indonesia.


    Dr James Riccio

    James
    Dr James Riccio is Director of MDRC’s Low-Wage Workers and Communities policy area, which tests innovative policies to improve labour market, human capital, and quality-of-life outcomes for low-income populations, usually through randomized controlled trials. In addition to overseeing the work of his department, Dr Riccio currently serves as the principal investigator for MDRC’s evaluation of the Family Rewards two-generation conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs for low-income families in New York City and Memphis, Tennessee. In addition, under a contract with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, he is directing a test of an alternative rent policy designed to increase work outcomes for recipients of housing subsidies in four cities. From 2003-2011, Dr Riccio led an MDRC-UK research consortium (including 4 British organizations as subcontractors) that designed and evaluated the UK Employment Retention and Advancement (UK ERA) demonstration, at the time Britain’s largest and most comprehensive randomized trial in social policy, under a contract with the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). He now serves as on an expert advisory panel for DWP’s evaluation of Universal Credit, Britain’s major new welfare reform initiative. Over his long career at MDRC, Dr Riccio has also been a lead researcher on evaluations of a variety of welfare-to-work, employment programs for residents of public housing, and other initiatives. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University.


    Dr Richard Dorsett

    Richard
    Dr Richard Dorsett is Director of Policy Evaluation at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in London. He specialises in the fields of welfare, employment and education/training. His experience covers both large-scale government evaluations and smaller-scale studies. His particular expertise is in impact analysis and he has led numerous projects using both experimental and non-experimental techniques.

    Current evaluations include the Work Programme (the main UK back-to-work service) for the UK Department for Work and Pensions; technology in adult learning (a randomised control trial assigning learners to either traditional or blended learning) for the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills, BIS); Traineeships (a voluntary scheme to improve the employability of young people with skills below the level required for an apprenticeship) for BIS; a support scheme for released prisoners (the results of which will be used to calculate payment due to investors in a social impact bond) for the UK Ministry of Justice. He is also part of a World Bank led team designing a survey of nationals, ex-pats and employers in Saudi Arabia. He has previously acted as Specialist Adviser to the UK House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Manchester.


    Professor Mary C. Ruffolo

    Marry C.
    Professor Mary Ruffolo’s research focuses on organizational factors that influence sustaining evidence based interventions/programs in community mental health settings, adapting efficacious interventions for children and youth experiencing serious mental health challenges, and addressing ways to disseminate interventions with at-risk populations (e.g., families of children with serious mental illness, adults with severe mental illness). She is involved in evaluating initiatives focusing on integrating behavioral health and primary care. She is committed to research that addresses the needs of vulnerable populations served by the health and behavioral health public systems.

    As director of the continuing education program, she is facilitating the instructional technology initiatives within the school to better meet the needs of students and professionals. Her efforts focus on the development of courses and interdisciplinary web-based certificates using a range of digital and web-based instructional technologies to enhance learning.

    REGISTRATION FEE: $30 PER PARTICIPANT
    Registration fee includes full workshop kit, 2 tea breaks and 1 lunch

    Date: 23rd April 2015, Thursday
    Time: 8.30am to 5.30pm
    Venue: Kent Ridge Guild House, NUSS, 9 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119241
    Rooms: Dalvey & Evans

    REGISTRATION IS CLOSE