SW3105 Working with Community
SECTION A – This question is compulsory . Question 1 Studio apartments were first built in 1998 with the purpose of supporting senior citizen households age 55 and above, to enjoy additional income from selling their larger flats. The studio apartments were built without being combined with other flat types to ensure that the whole block is purpose-built to cater to the needs of the seniors. Spaces are also provided for social and communal facilities to be operated by voluntary welfare organisations and commercial enterprises. You are a social worker who recently joined Kensington Family Service Centre (KFSC). KFSC serves a service boundary that is a mature estate, and has one block of studio apartment flats. KFSC has recently experienced a turnover and is currently staffed with one Senior Social Worker whose main role is the supervision of all the staff and oversees the management of cases in KFSC. You understand from your Senior Social Worker that the KFSC team has been providing casework services to several seniors living in the studio apartments. The Executive Director is also new to KFSC, having joined only in the last year and keen to identify ways to better serve the community. She is excited about the concept of Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) and hopes to try out this model of community development. As a young social worker who has just joined the agency, you started to hang out at the Senior Activity Centre (SAC) located at the studio apartment block, in an effort to build rapport and understand the concerns of the residents. You understand that the residents are concerned about socially isolated neighbors with health issues. They have also heard or know of 2 stay-alone seniors from the block, who passed away alone at home undetected during the Circuit Breaker. Their bodies were only discovered 1 month after they passed away. You also observed that the SAC meant to cater to their social needs was underutilized as usually the same few residents turn up to play rummy-o or read newspapers daily. Together with your colleagues at the SAC, you organize a group session (which you named “kopi talk”) with the seniors in hope of discussing the concerns and to collectively find ways to resolve them together with the community. Although about 20 residents that you invited said that they would turn up, only 6 showed up on the day of kopi talk. To your surprise, although the residents had previously expressed concern about the socially isolated neighbours with health issues, they did not appear to be keen to do anything. Some seniors said that they were “too old to do anything”, “we are just here to pass time and play rummy-o” and that “you are from the government, your ideas are better than ours and you all know what to do better”. They did not want to talk about the issues further as it reminded them about the deaths that happened, and the possibility that they may die alone at home also. The session then quickly shifted as the seniors began to chat about their own lives and reminisce about the good old times when they were working as nurses, teachers, architects and chefs. Eventually, some of the seniors suggested for staff to organize an outing using the SGRediscover vouchers while others asked if you could start singing classes since they had to take a break for a whole year due to COVID- SW3105 Page 3 of 4 19. After an hour, one of the group members Mdm Lee stood up and said that she had to leave to cook as it was near lunch time. The rest of the seniors asked jokingly whether they could follow along to her house since “you are such an excellent cook”. Following her lead, the rest of the residents started preparing to leave. You asked the residents to meet again in 2 weeks and encouraged them to invite their neighbours to come too. As they were leaving, two seniors shared with you privately that they do not wish to associate with seniors with mental illness, as “they are scary – they shout and swear at others” and “some of them have been vandalizing the void deck”. One of them said that the SAC needs to conduct activities in Mandarin to attract more people as majority of the seniors speak Mandarin. When the session ended, your colleague at the SAC shared that under the current COVID-19 advisory, there is to be not more than 25 people in the centre at any onetime, including staff. Your colleague at the SAC advised not to invite too many seniors until the pandemic situation improves. She was concerned about doing too many of such discussion groups as her Key Performance Indicator was to successfully run social activities that were pre-defined in the service model. In the following week, your Senior Social Worker receives a call from a grassroots leader referring a case where a stay-alone senior from the studio apartments had forgotten to turn off the stove, causing a gas leak. This led to the whole block being evacuated in the middle of the night. The grassroots leader requested for help find a nursing home for the senior, as he clearly could not manage himself. At the same time, you received feedback from the Agency of Integrated Care Silver Generation Office (SGO) who were conducting outreach about available policies and schemes for senior citizens, and to refer them to activities and services. They shared they had challenges engaging residents, that they were resistant and difficult, as the residents were not trusting of people seen as authorities, or not interested in the activities and services introduced. The Executive Director of the FSC was concerned about the level of isolation and rising issues of the studio apartment, having noticed increasing number of referrals for residents of the studio apartment experiencing social and financial issues in the past few months. She has convened a meeting with you and a few colleagues to form a workgroup on how to use ABCD to address the issues that have emerged. a) What do you think are some potential reasons for the attendance and reactions of the seniors during the group meeting? How would you attempt to mitigate them if they were to re-emerge at the next meeting? b) Based on your knowledge from the residents and the stakeholders, come up with a proposal addressing any of the challenges to submit to your Executive Director. The proposal should include a Logic Model, Theory of Change, and show how ABCD is incorporated in your suggested initiative.c) What challenges or tensions might you face when working with the SAC, grassroots leader, and SGO? How would you overcome them? SW3105 Page 4 of 4 SECTION B Question 2 In the 2021 Budget debate, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Pritam Singh, questioned the relevancy of the Community Development Councils (CDCs) in Singapore, in light of a scheme to disburse cash vouchers to citizens (Tham, 2021). The CDCs were set up in 1997 to build a cohesive, compassionate, and self-reliant community, through aggregating of needs and resources, building capability/capacity in partners and networks, and connecting communities (People’s Association, 2020).
a) Discuss the relevancy of the CDCs in achieving community development goals in urban Singapore today. Use examples* to support your discussions.
b) In your opinion, how effective are the CDCs’ initiatives in addressing social justice and social inequality in Singapore?*You may refer to the links below, any of the 5 CDC websites, or any other online articles and resources to find examples
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