Thousands of inmates are released from prison each year.
Their transition back to the community is fraught with the difficulties of readjustment and accentuated by stigmatisation of their past imprisonment.
With this in mind, the CARE Network was set up in 2000 with seven founding agencies – MHA, SPS, YRSG, NCSS, SACA, SANA, and ISCOS – to provide an inclusive and supportive environment for ex-offenders’ reintegration. Subsequently, MSF (then Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports) joined the Network in 2005 and YRF in 2015 as core members. Over the years, the Network has also expanded to work with over 100 community partners, including SSAs, religious groups, Family Service Centres (FSCs), Halfway Houses (HWHs), grassroots organisations, corporates and schools.
As part of community engagement efforts, CARE Network launched two key initiatives in 2004 – the Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP) and the Yellow Ribbon Fund (YRF). YRP is a national public engagement campaign aimed at changing society’s mindset in giving ex-offenders a second chance in life. YRF is the first charitable fund dedicated to providing support for reintegration programmes/services for inmates, ex-offenders and their families.
Beyond community engagement, the CARE Network hopes to empower and promote shared ownership among partners. Effective linkages with the community would help provide a holistic and sustainable support network for ex-offenders and their families.
As part of CARE Network's effort to build evidence - based practices in the aftercare sector, research was undertaken by SACA, which took reference from existing local and overseas studies.
After months of consultation with aftercare professionals, the Aftercare Contextualised Competency Framework (ACF) framework was launch in 2021. The framework was adapted from the Skills Framework for Social Service (Social Work) and contextualised to the aftercare sector by outlining key competencies, skills and knowledge areas distinct to Aftercare related work. You can access the framework here. The same year, the first CARE Network training course "Corrections and Aftercare Landscape " was held in mid-May. The course was jointly developed by SPS and SACA to provide contextual information of Singapore's corrections and aftercare landscape and a total of 51 aftercare professionals attended.
The Case Management Framework (CMF) was implemented in SACA and SANA in 2001. It is a holistic approach in counselling, comprising both incare and aftercare components, to enable higher levels of functioning and greater resilience in clients as they prepare for their eventual re-entry. In 2014, to better manage the complex needs of offenders in their rehabilitation journey, the Developmental Framework for Offender Rehab Personnel (DORP) was implemented to ensure professionalism and enhance service delivery.
To expand its reach in the community, CARE Network launched the YRP and YRF in 2004, and the Yellow Ribbon Community Project (YRCP) in 2010 to reach out to families. In 2015, the Network welcomed YRF as a core member to ensure CARE Network’s objectives are better resourced, and to align YRF’s funding with national priorities to maximise impact.
In 2019, ahead of the Network’s 20th Anniversary celebrations in 2020, a comprehensive review of CARE Network was initiated to rally collective effort to reduce the 2-year and 5-year recidivism rates and chart the future direction of the Network. Over 70 partner agencies and 350 individuals were engaged. Three working groups led by core members (SACA, SANA, ISCOS and SPS) were formed to drive the review. The recommendations were consolidated into two strategic thrusts, namely: (i) advancing CARE Network capabilities and capacity, and (ii) strengthening throughcare and reintegration journey. A Digital Publication was launched in 2020, as CARE Network celebrates its 20th Anniversary, to align collective efforts with the strategic thrusts.
CARE Network Events
The first CARE Network Seminar was held in 2013. Since then, the annual event has served as a key platform for knowledge-sharing and networking among CARE Network partners.
In 2020, CARE Network kicked off its 20th Anniversary with a collaboration with Nanyang Polytechnic to produce a Drama Production “Ripples”. Held on 18 Jan, the production was graced by President Halimah Yacob as the guest-of-honour and paid tribute to the unsung heroes who made second chances possible. To close off the year, the Network organised a hybrid event themed “CN+ Together – A Network of Opportunities” to celebrate CARE Network milestone and to appreciate partners. The event was graced by Associate Professor Mohammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State for MHA and MND and saw 109 people from various agencies coming together.
In 2021, the CARE Network Summit sees the conversion of the CARE Network Workplan Seminar from a one-day physical convention to a fully virtual three-day event. With the event hosted virtually, the Network was able to reach out to more partners and new demographics in efforts to rally more individuals and organisations towards the Yellow Ribbon cause.