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Gerard Ee

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Social Workers Complement – Not Replace – Support Networks For The Less-Privileged

The argument that less-privileged or disadvantaged Singaporeans should be respected as individuals with agency who are capable of making decisions for their households, rather than as people with problems, is incontrovertible. The same can be said of Mr. Gerard Ee’s related argument that the design of Singapore’s social service ecosystem can be improved by creating an environment of mutual help (ST, Jan. 3). Yet it is not necessarily true that programmes and services offered by the social and community service sector – and by extension, the work of social workers – replace “natural support networks” or “the notion of a caring community”. Instead, three other things seem to be missing: First, an understanding of how social workers should position themselves and their programmes and services; second, research studying the context and conditions of Singaporeans at the margin; as well as third, the involvement of the broader public, beyond those who work within the social service sector. Continue reading

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