25 February 2010
The SW1101E - Introduction to Social Work module is a great module to take in NUS. As part of the module requirement, students need to visit 2 social service agencies and write a reflection paper on one of them.
I thought Pertapis was a familiar name. As I chatted with the social worker along the way to the conference room, I was right to have seen it in Eunos - the Pertapis childcare centre.
After a round of introduction, the Assistant Administrator Nurul started her presentation. The Pertapis Centre for Women and Children sat on the old Paya Lebar Kovan Community Centre building.
Caring for troubled teens since 1990, Pertapis Centre for Women and Girls became an Approved Home and Approved School under the Children and Young Persons Act (CYPA). It is also a Place of Safety under the Women's Charter and an Approved Institution under Probation of Offenders Act (POA).
Social service agencies work with the government as well as various organisations to maximise resources and minimise duplications. For instance, Pertapis and MENDAKI have a joint programme called the Integrated Programme for Troubled Teenagers (IPTT).
Through a structured programmes, the girls pick up new skills and knowledge. There is even a training salon where they could learn the trade from a professional hairstylist. However perfect the programmes could be, Nurul stressed that joint efforts from the individual, volunteers and family also play a large part towards the wellbeing of the girls.
Like all organisations, PCWG also faces many challenges. Children who are Beyond Parental Control (BPC) are involuntarily sent by their parents to the Centre. Most of them do not feel that they are in the wrong, and might exhibit anger and resentment against the staff and social workers. Although the Centre is funded by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports (MCYS) and supported by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), donations are still needed to sustain operations.
After the presentation, we took a tour around the Centre. What caught our attention was the detention room. For the girls who escaped the Centre, they would be locked up in a cell that resembles that of a prison's.
6 months before and after the girls are discharged, the Podz Youth Mentoring Scheme enables the girls to transit to their normal life.