5 July 2016, Singapore: KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), together with Temasek Cares, has launched Singapore’s first network to support children affected by trauma. Initiated by Temasek Cares, the Stay Prepared – Trauma Network for Children aims to bring psychosocial trauma support and care into the core of Singapore’s community. This is a successive collaboration between KKH and Temasek Cares following the launch of the Temasek Cares KITS (Kids in Tough Situations) programme in April 2014.
The Stay Prepared – Trauma Network for Children aims to meet five key objectives: firstly, the programme will develop and validate a culture-sensitive model to provide a layer of community-based post-trauma care and support to children and their families in Singapore. The programme will also continue to enhance a localised Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT) model. These new and enhanced resources will be adapted from established models and those practised by recognised international institutions to meet the needs of our local community.
The second objective of the Stay Prepared – Trauma Network for Children programme is to build on what the Temasek Cares – KITS programme had achieved in the last two years by broadening the reach and extending locally adapted TF-CBT training to an even larger pool of school counsellors and community-based psychologists and social workers.
Thirdly, the programme will develop and validate a model to train schools and community in trauma first-aid and recovery skills. The training will include a three-day trauma first-aid course, and will involve school counsellors, community-based psychologists and social workers, community leaders, seniors and volunteers. Participants will be trained to identify and provide psychological and emotional “first-aid” to children who are experiencing trauma-related stress.
Associate Professor Ng Kee Chong, Chairman of the Division of Medicine at KKH, Director of the hospital’s Psychosocial Trauma Support Service, Temasek Cares KITS programme, and the Stay Prepared – Trauma Network for Children, said, “One of the vital components of the Stay Prepared – Trauma Network for Children is the establishment of localised training resources for post-trauma support that will be more relevant and effective for our local community. The comprehensive coverage and support provided by the programme will allow the local community to band together during times of crisis to render the necessary psychosocial support, build resilience, and care for our children with traumatic stress.”
Fourthly, the Stay Prepared – Trauma Network for Children will establish a learning network for trauma-informed individuals in Singapore, e.g. school counsellors, community-based psychologists and social workers, as well as community leaders, to promote knowledge transfer and sharing of resources related to the management of childhood trauma. This effectively expands and extends the continuity of trauma support in the community.
Adjunct Professor Richard Magnus, Chairman of Temasek Cares, added, “This is a keystone programme under the Temasek Emergency Preparedness Fund, set up by Temasek Holdings and managed by Temasek Cares, to build community resilience to emergencies. We are especially heartened to have the Ministry of Education join in this initiative, and to have the programme reach out to special needs schools and Madrasahs. The participation of these educational institutions will not only benefit more children and build our community’s capability to respond to emergencies, but will also enhance the resources, knowledge and experiences shared by the Trauma Network.”
Finally, the programme aims to reach out to approximately 10,000 children and their families through outreach efforts, which will focus on educating the wider population in understanding trauma, its impact, and how and when to seek trauma related support or treatment for a child.
The Stay Prepared – Trauma Network for Children targets to train 680 school counsellors, community-based psychologists and social workers, community leaders, seniors and volunteers in trauma first-aid; enhance trauma expertise capacity within the community by training 16 trauma first-aid trainers; and further augment the community’s proficiency in TF-CBT by training an additional 100 school counsellors and community-based psychologists and social workers in the evidence-based approach. The trauma first-aid and TF-CBT training that the schools and community will receive is expected to benefit 3,040 children and their caregivers.
Ms Low See Yim, Principal Social Worker, Montfort Care, said, “Since joining the Temasek Cares KITS programme two years ago, I have acquired and have been using Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy to help children and adolescents in the community. As these children have undergone traumatic situations, I was able to effectively apply the therapy method to assess their trauma symptoms and provide the much needed intervention. On a personal level, not only has the skill acquisition added to my repertoire of therapy skills, it has also equipped me to conduct community outreach activities to share my knowledge of trauma and its effects on children and adolescents with the general public.”
The pilot programme Stay Prepared – Trauma Network for Children will be implemented over a period of three and a half years. The S$3.5 million programme is generously funded by Temasek Cares.