Budget 2014: New scheme to help children of divorcing parents

Budget 2014: New scheme to help children of divorcing parents

A programme for parents thinking about splitting up will be introduced to ensure their children's needs are considered before they start divorce proceedings.

The programme will include components for parents to understand the importance of positive co-parenting and negative effects of divorces, Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Low Yen Ling said in Parliament on Thursday. Her ministry and the Law Ministry will draw up the programme. Details like how and when it will be implemented have yet to be finalised.

"The breakdown of a marriage can be traumatic, especially for the child," said Ms Low.

Urging parents to consider the child's interests, Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said: "Let us always remember the child who is at the centre, caught in between, powerless to dictate terms or even to share his or her perspective."

Since 2007, there have been about 7,000 divorces each year, affecting more than 8,000 children.

For children whose parents are going through or have completed divorce proceedings, programmes to help them cope will be expanded.

Other programmes to help parents overcome co-parenting difficulties will also be introduced.

The ministry will work with other organisations to raise the capability and capacity of agencies handling divorce-related issues.

More details will be announced later this year, Ms Low said.

She also said two pilot parenting programmes, developed in Australia, will be introduced in 40 primary and secondary schools over two years from next month.

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