Sweetland centres made unauthorised withdrawals from Child Development Accounts: MSF

Sweetland centres made unauthorised withdrawals from Child Development Accounts: MSF
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has served notice of intention to revoke the status of Approved Person (AP) of 11 Sweetlands childcare centres today.

An Approved Person is the authorised person of a Baby Bonus Approved Institution to make deduction from the Child Development Accounts (CDAs) for the payment of fees.

A recent audit conducted by MSF revealed that the AP of Sweetlands centres has made unauthorised withdrawals from CDAs of several children and wrongful claims for childcare subsidies from the Government.
The Ministry said it takes a serious view of the breaches and has referred the matter to the Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore Police Force.

MSF said the notice of intention was served to the two APs of Sweetland centres, Madam Chan Chew Shia and her husband Ho Boon Hong. Madam Chan runs 10 of the 11 Sweetland Childcare Centres and the remaining centre is run by Mr Ho.

Unless they are able to provide satisfactory reasons why the status of AP should not be revoked within 14 days of the notice, MSF said it will proceed to revoke their AP status.

MSF will then appoint a temporary AP to manage the CDA deductions and oversee the child care subsidies, until Sweetlands centres find a suitable replacement.

"All centres will continue to operate, as there are no issues in terms of the safety or well-being of the children," said MSF.

It added that it will monitor CDA deductions and child care susbsidies claims made by Sweetlands centres closely during the notice period.

MSF said it has contacted the parents whose children are enrolled in Sweetland centres to explain the situation and provide necessary support and assurance.

The CDA is a special savings account to help parents lighten the financial costs of raising children. Parents can open a CDA with DBS Bank, OCBC or UOB.

The savings in the CDA can be used to pay for the children's expenses at Baby Bonus Approved Institutions such as:

- Child Care Centres

- Kindergartens

- Special education schools

- Providers of early intervention programmes

- Providers of assistive technology devices

- Hospitals and clinics

- Pharmacies

- Optical shops


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