For Ms Lee Hwee Nah, the head of Youth Service @ Children’s Society (YSC) since 1 July 2022, every encounter with a child and family is not just an opportunity to help, but also to learn.
One important takeaway has been that success can look different for every family.
In one family Hwee Nah worked with, for instance, the parent-child relationship was so strained that the whole family could not be in the same room at the same time. Daily arguments were adding to mental stress, and she advised the mother that repairing that would take time.
“We were realistic with the mother on what could be expected in 18 months. It helped to set achievable targets, because we did not want them to be disappointed,” she says.
Over time, progress was made, leading to fewer arguments and a calmer home situation. “The parents enjoyed considerable respite, and this was a big relief for the family,” she says.
For Hwee Nah, it was also a reminder that while not every case ends with a newfound positive relationship between the parent and the child, measurable improvements can still be achieved.
Helping families: Hwee Nah in 2022 at the Society’s corporate office
YSC works closely with at-risk youth under two key programmes – the Family Guidance Order (FGO) and Integrated Service Provider (ISP). Both involve assessing youth and their families and putting up recommendations to the Youth Court and the Police respectively. YSC staff also work closely with the youth, their families and available support systems to rehabilitate families and steer youth towards a crime-free and prosocial lifestyle.
Hwee Nah is not new to Singapore Children’s Society, having joined the Society as a Social Worker in 1998 at the Toa Payoh Centre (TPC). She was subsequently promoted to Senior Social Worker, and in 2005, she headed the Jurong Youth Centre for a year. To broaden her professional development, she joined MOE in 2009 as an Allied Educator, providing counselling to parents, school staff and senior management. In 2018, she re-joined the Society as Assistant Director of TPC. She was then promoted to Deputy Director, and appointed Deputy Head of YSC in July 2021.
Lending a helping hand: Hwee Nah (centre) participating in fundraising activities with her colleagues in 2001
Hwee Nah’s goal in her current role is to continue the good work of her predecessors. She hopes that the team’s passion and dedication will continue to heal and create a positive impact on youth and their families, and that through it all, they continue to find meaning in the work they do.
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