More fee subsidies for kids at special care centres – AutismSTEP
Families with disabled children who are attending special student care centres will get more fee subsidies, and more will qualify for help as the income criteria are expanded.
With the extra help, most families will, on average, pay between 30 and 80 per cent less in fees. For example, a family with a total monthly household income of $4,000 will pay $142 a month when the subsidies kick in – about 75 per cent less than the $582 they had to pay previously.
Meanwhile, the eligible household income for means-tested subsidies will be raised from $4,000 to $9,200 a month.
Special student care centres provide after-school care and supervision for children with disabilities aged between seven and 18.
The changes will take effect on July 1, Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sam Tan said in Parliament yesterday.
Responding to Mr Seah Kian Peng (Marine Parade GRC) on the affordability of such care centres, Mr Tan said they are “particularly essential” for caregivers who need to work or care for other dependants and themselves.
There are currently five special student care centres located in or near special education schools, with about 130 students enrolled.
Madam Valerie Lim, 43, a single mother with three children, said her daughter, Kylie, has benefited from attending the Raintree Special Student Care Centre run by Minds, a charity helping people with intellectual disability.
Kylie, 17, has intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder.
“Kylie is better at communicating now and she is more cheerful as she has made friends at the centre. When she is happy, she is better able to learn to be more independent,” said Madam Lim, an accounts and administrative assistant earning less than $3,000 a month. She is thankful for the higher subsidy as she needs to pay only $35 a month, instead of $106.
SG Enable, set up by the Ministry of Social And Family Development (MSF) to support people with disabilities, has launched a new online resource called the Enabling Guide (www.enablingguide.sg). It is a one-stop website to help people find information on the various disability schemes and services.
From Oct 1, SG Enable will be the single touch point for disability services here. It will take over the administration of disability programmes currently run by the MSF and the National Council of Social Service. This includes the funding administration and management of services by special education schools and adult disability homes.
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