Published: 02 October 2018
Question from Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many drug offenders have children at home; (b) what rehabilitation support is provided to youths and children of parents who are found guilty of drug-related crimes; (c) what outreach activities are in place to encourage youths to stay drug-free; and (d) what is being done to increase vigilance and awareness of drug-related activities in the community.
Question from Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in respect to studies which show that children having drug-abusing parents are more likely to take drugs later in life (a) what is the current number of generational-correlated drug offenders in Singapore; and (b) whether there are measures put in place to prevent the generational cycles of addiction.
Answer by Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health:
1. We do not track the number of drug offenders who have children at home, nor the number of children of drug offenders who become drug abusers later in life.
2. But we recognise that the latter is a real risk.
3. To address this, measures have been put in place to support families and children of offenders and ex-offenders. Singapore Prisons Service works with community partners to provide them social support. Partners such as Focus on the Family, The Salvation Army and Singapore Children Society run family bonding programmes within prisons. These programmes equip inmates with the relevant knowledge and skills to improve their relationship with their families and children during incarceration.
4. Member agencies in the Community Action for Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders Network, or CARE Network, run programmes such as the Yellow Ribbon Fund’s Yellow Brick Road and the ISCOS Fairy Godparent programmes. These programmes provide:
a. tuition support to improve the children’s academic performance,
b. befriending and mentorship programmes to develop the children’s socio-emotional competencies, and
c. parenting skills workshop to improve the care-givers’ parenting abilities.
5. In addition, the Home Team introduced the Youth Engagement Programme (YEP) in 2012 to reach out to at-risk youths and keep them meaningfully occupied through sports and youth camps. Under the YEP, officers from the Singapore Police Force and Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) also serve as mentors and conduct crime and drug prevention talks.
6. CNB works with the ITEs, polytechnics and universities to establish youth advocacy against drug use.
7. CNB also works with the National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) to raise awareness of the harms of drugs among youths. NCADA has established the United Against Drugs Coalition. This is a coalition of corporate and community establishments such as clothing and F&B companies popular among youths. NCADA engages these establishments to propagate the anti-drug message to their young customers.
8. The Ministry of Home Affairs is also working with the Ministry of Social and Family Development and other government agencies and community partners in an integrated approach to support at-risk children and youths, offenders and their families. To this end, the National Committee on Prevention, Rehabilitation and Recidivism (NCPR) was set up in April 2018, co-chaired by Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Desmond Lee, and Second Minister for Home Affairs, Ms Josephine Teo. The committee facilitates collaborative efforts in research and data sharing, helps develop the capacity of organisations to support rehabilitation, and coordinates efforts to address issues of offending and re-offending.