26 February 2010
I always wonder how do Family Service Centres (FSCs) differ from Residents' Committee (RC) Centres. Both are scattered around the HDB estates and cater for the residents in the neighbourhood. That question was answered after my visit to the Ang Mo Kio FSC.
The Ang Mo Kio FSC had three branches at Ang Mo Kio, Cheng San and Seng Kang. It has provided service to the community for more than 30 years.
Several of us mentioned that prior to taking this module, we were pretty unsure what the difference between social work and volunteering was. The social worker explained that social workers do case work and counselling as well as run group work programmes. Theories guide social workers, but not volunteers.
FSCs provide an extensive range of programmes that help families. These programmes include preventive ones like the Preventive Development Programmes (PDP). The Centre also educates families on financial planning, as well as assist young families with the Healthy Start Programme.
After the short presentation, we followed a social worker and a volunteer to one of the rental flats to visit a resident. The closest I got to a rental flat is when I help residents write appeal letters to appeal for rental flats during Meet-the-People Session. The visit was definitely an eye-opener.
The rental flat looked seemingly like any other flats around the estate. It bore a new coat of paint, with a design just like any other regular HDB flats in the area. The lifts also stopped at every floor, thanks to the Lift Upgrading Programme, which did not discriminate rental flats from the others. At the void deck, there was a electronic display that would indicate the unit which requires assistance.
The resident of the 1-room flat was all in smiles when she saw us visitors. The social worker interviewed the old auntie while the volunteer cleaned the room. It was a real-life observation of the difference between the social worker and the volunteer.