Deepening Competencies and Strengthening Collaborations Essential to Enhancing Aftercare Sector
Singapore, 28 June 2019 - Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, was the Guest-of-Honour at the seventh CARE Network Seminar held earlier today at Fairmont Singapore. Themed “Transformation: The Future of Aftercare”, the seminar provided a platform for over 300 aftercare professionals, volunteers and partners, to have a closed-door dialogue on how to further strengthen and expand their support for inmates and ex-offenders.
One of the CARE Network’s key initiatives is to reinvigorate itself by conducting a review of its role and purpose. Some of the key areas of focus include strengthening the aftercare sector to create more and better opportunities for practitioners to develop their skills, as well as improving service delivery to offenders and their families.
The CARE Network will also deepen its collaboration with partners, especially religious voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-offenders. Religious VWOs play an important role in supporting offenders by being a source of pro-social support.
For example, the FITRAH (Family & Inmates Through-Care Assistance Haven) Office, which was launched by MUIS in May 2019, provides integrated and holistic support for inmates and their families through religious and family-based programmes, financial assistance and befriending services. FITRAH volunteers receive newly-released ex-offenders at the prison gate with “Back to FITRAH” packages, which comprise vouchers, an EZ-link card and an information kit on available assistance. To date, about 40 ex-offenders have received such packages.
The Prison Fellowship Singapore (PFS) similarly provides religious counselling services, and matches suitable church communities with inmates, prior to their release from prison. Like their FITRAH counterparts, PFS volunteers also receive ex-offenders at the prison gate when they are released. Mr Andrew Tay, Executive Director of Prison Fellowship Singapore, said: “Many difficulties and uncertainties await ex-offenders upon their release. It is important that volunteers come onboard to provide pro-social support to ex-offenders in their reintegration journey. In doing so, we can help them to break away from the cycle of re-offending”.
About the CARE Network
The Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network was formed in May 2000 to improve the effectiveness of rehabilitation of ex-offenders in Singapore. Bringing together more than 100 community partners, the CARE Network engages the community in rehabilitation, co-ordinates member agencies’ activities and develops innovative rehabilitative initiatives for ex-offenders.
The CARE Network comprises nine core member agencies, including:
- Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)
- Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)
- Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE)
- Singapore Prison Service (SPS)
- National Council of Social Service (NCSS)
- Industrial and Services Co-operative Society Ltd (ISCOS)
- Singapore After-Care Association (SACA)
- Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA)
- Yellow Ribbon Fund (YRF)