Scene of family having meal on floor moved her

Scene of family having meal on floor moved her

It was a part-time job conducting surveys for a magazine that cemented social service veteran Ang Bee Lian's decision to enter the sector and help the disadvantaged.

Ms Ang, who was fresh out of secondary school, was going door to door in a housing estate polling families on their lifestyle choices.

Then she chanced upon a home with little furniture, and the family was having a meal on the floor.

"I was confronted with something that was deeper in society," said the past winner of the Outstanding Social Worker Award.

"There was no singular reason that moved me into social work but clearly this was an incident that's still stuck in my mind till today," added the 58-year-old.

It was reported last month that Ms Ang, who is the most senior social worker in Singapore, will be stepping down as the chief executive of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS).

She is headed for the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on Nov 1 as its new director of social welfare.

The ministry was also where she began her career as a child protection officer more than 35 years ago after graduating with a degree in social work from the National University of Singapore.

In her new appointment, she will oversee the protection of vulnerable persons, such as the destitute and those who have been abused.

She will also provide views and advice on the standards of social work practice and the professional development of social service practitioners.

This means that she will still be "very much on the ground".

"I hope to grow the group of mentors and role models for the next generation of social work leaders," she said.

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