June 29, 2020
Child Development Account (CDA) Outreach Efforts: a Multi-Agency Collaboration to Support Young Children from Disadvantaged Families
1. The Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), People's Association (PA) and Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) are working together to reach out to the families of more than 780 children who have yet to set up a Child Development Account (CDA) for their child, and encourage them to do so. This initiative is led by the Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce (UPLIFT), an inter-agency taskforce set up in 2018 and helmed by Second Minister for Education Ms Indranee Rajah to strengthen support for students from disadvantaged families.
2. These outreach efforts are targeted to help families with Singapore Citizen (SC) children born between 2016 and 2018, and who qualify for the CDA First Step, to open a CDA for their child. Once the account is set up, the Government will disburse the $3,000 CDA First Step into the CDA and also match savings that go into the CDA. The money in the CDA can be used to defray child-raising expenses such as preschool fees and medical bills at Baby Bonus Approved Institutions (AIs).
3. In preparation for this outreach, MSF and MOE partnered PA and SINDA to train about 400 outreach staff and volunteers, who were instrumental in reaching out to the families. SINDA started its outreach between February and March 2020, before efforts were suspended during the Circuit Breaker period. After the Circuit Breaker, it resumed its outreach in June, during which PA also commenced its outreach efforts, while abiding strictly by the national safe management measures.
4. As of 23 June, through these initial outreach efforts, about 150 families are in the midst of opening, or have opened, the CDA for their children. PA and SINDA are targeting to complete the outreach by end-September this year.
5. Second Minister for Education and Chairperson of UPLIFT, Ms Indranee Rajah said: "In Budget 2016, the Government introduced the CDA First Step of $3,000 for every Singaporean child to help parents with child-raising expenses, over and above pre-school subsidies. This has benefited many families but we discovered that about 780 children from lower income households had not yet opened CDAs and hence, had not received the grant. Reasons for this include parents' lack of awareness of the CDA or other barriers. UPLIFT therefore tapped on PA and SINDA's community networks to contact the families, inform them of the CDA and where necessary, assist them to set up the account. In the current Covid-19 situation, the CDA First Step of $3,000 will provide much needed extra support to these families. This collaboration between UPLIFT, community partners and volunteers reflects the spirit and partnership approach of Singapore Together."
6. Minister for Social and Development, Mr Desmond Lee said: "The CDA is a savings account to support every Singaporean child. The CDA First Step of $3,000 is deposited into the CDA without requiring parents to make any prior deposit. We want to support lower-income families who may otherwise not be able to fully benefit from the dollar-for-dollar Government matching contributions. The CDA funds can also be used by both the child and his/her siblings for approved educational and healthcare expenses, until the child turns 12 years old. We encourage all parents to set up a CDA for their child, and will help them to do so regardless of their circumstances."
7. Chief Executive Director of the People's Association, Mr Lim Hock Yu said: "PA is happy to support this meaningful outreach effort, in reaching out to more young children from disadvantaged families. Our grassroots volunteers are familiar with the various government policies, and have been conducting regular house visits to families that need assistance. With their experience and training, they will be able to explain the benefits of CDA and assist these families with the setting up of the CDA."
8. CEO, SINDA, Mr Anbarasu Rajendran said: "This is an important and meaningful collaborative effort for SINDA, in engaging and benefitting families and children in our community. Setting up the CDA is an important step by parents for their children's needs. By working together with MOE and MSF, we hope to encourage Indian families to do so, so that they have access to resources for their children's essentials and educational expenses."
Spearheaded by MOE, UPLIFT is an inter-agency Taskforce comprising MSF, MCCY, MOF, ECDA and Self-Help Groups to strengthen support for students from disadvantaged families.
About the Child Development Account (Cda)
The CDA is part of the Baby Bonus Scheme, which aims to help families defray the financial costs of raising children. It is a special savings account for eligible Singapore citizen children which can be opened at DBS, OCBC or UOB. Upon the successful opening of a CDA, the Government will deposit $3,000 CDA First Step into the account without requiring any initial deposits from parents. Parents can double their savings when they save into the CDA, as the Government will provide dollar-for-dollar matching contributions, up to the child's eligible contribution cap. Parents can use the CDA to pay for approved products and services for the child or the child's sibling(s) at Baby Bonus AIs. Parents can find out more about the Baby Bonus Scheme, check their child's eligibility for the CDA and apply online at www.babybonus.msf.gov.sg.