Building a circle of care around vulnerable pre-school children

CEI is helping to enhance a revolutionary program that builds comprehensive support systems around pre-school children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Singapore.

Established by the Lien Foundation, a Singapore philanthropic house noted for its model of radical philanthropy, the Circle of Care program brings together social work, health services and learning support in a collective support system around children, in partnership with parents.

In this child-centric model, social workers play a vital role in bringing educational therapists, health specialists, teachers and principals – professionals who usually work apart – together as a multi-disciplinary team.

Currently, the program operates in 10 preschools and two primary schools, working mostly with families living on a third or less than a third of Singapore’s median income.

CEI has been engaged to evaluate the program and to support its implementation as it expands to 30 partner preschools and seven primary schools by 2030.

We’re completing an initial formative evaluation to identify opportunities for improvement and refinement. This evaluation will also identify any barriers to the program’s full implementation and will find ways to overcome these barriers in preschools and primary schools.

We will then apply these findings in a phased and staged implementation plan to guide the work of the Circle of Care teams as the program expands.

CEI will also build up staff capacity to ensure the program is being fully delivered in preschools and primary schools. The goal is to expand on the existing knowledge of staff in child development, the Circle of Care intervention, counselling and parenting.

Quality early childhood intervention programs are recognised as effective ways to reduce social inequality over the long term.

By ensuring Circle of Care is the best it can be and that it is properly put to use, we’re contributing to the Singaporean Government’s goal to give every child a good start in life and to tackle social inequality.