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The Singapore Association of Social Workers is a professional body of Social Workers residing and working in Singapore. Established in 1971, it is the national professional association that represents Social Workers in Singapore.

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The late Mr S R Nathan at ICSW on 19 June 2016

A Tribute to the late Mr S R Nathan, Former President of the Republic of Singapore

Dear Members and Social Work Colleagues,

Today we are greatly saddened by the passing of Mr S R Nathan, former President of the Republic of Singapore. Mr Nathan passed away peacefully on 22 August 2016 at the age of 92. Mr Nathan was conferred Fellow of the Singapore Association of Social Workers at the Social Workers’ Day Dinner on 15 April 2008.

Most Singaporeans know him as a trade unionist, a diplomat and most of all, as our longest-running elected President. Social workers know and take great pride in him as one of us – a qualified social worker who graduated with the Diploma in Social Studies with a Pass with Distinction in 1954 from the then University of Malaya. Present-day graduates with such a title added to their degrees have Mr Nathan to thank for, as it was because of his outstanding performance as a student that the university had added a clause to the regulations to make this possible.

Indeed, social workers have much to thank Mr Nathan for. As President of Singapore, he hosted the annual President’s Tea Reception at the Istana for social workers and social service practitioners throughout his Presidency and presented the Outstanding Social Worker Award and Promising Social Worker Award to social workers who have made significant contributions to the community over the years. During those years when the audience had to stand to witness the award ceremony, Mr Nathan would ensure that a special table was provided for the veteran social workers who might not be able to stand for prolonged periods of time. He was truly a social worker at heart.

Before stepping down as President, Mr Nathan remembered the needs of the Association. He took the unprecedented move to allocate a sum of $50,000 from the funds raised through the President’s Challenge 2011 meant for voluntary welfare organisations, to the Singapore Association of Social Workers for the professional development of social workers in Singapore.

Even in ill health, Mr Nathan’s support for the Association did not diminish. When the Association successfully bidded for the hosting of the International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health in June 2016, Mr Nathan was one of our strongest supporters and advisors. He taught us how to structure our proposals in order to raise funds from the Government and other well-wishers for the conference. Despite his problems with mobility, Mr Nathan attended the Tea Reception for the Conference Opening as our Special Host on 19 June 2016. As the typical good and warm host, Mr Nathan spoke to many local and international speakers and conference participants as well as took pictures with them. His humble, friendly and cheerful disposition would be remembered by most who attended the conference and reception that day.

With the passing of Mr S R Nathan, Singapore has lost the Most Distinguished Social Worker in the land. We will miss him dearly. Rest in peace, Mr Nathan.

Agnes Chia (Ms)
Singapore Association of Social Workers

Outstanding Social Worker Award 2016

The Outstanding Social Worker Award (OSWA) started in 1998. Organised by the Singapore Association of Social Workers, it is supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. The awards are presented annually by the President of the Republic of Singapore at the Istana, followed by a Tea Reception hosted by the President for social workers in appreciation of the contributions of the profession to the society. OSWA 2016 will take place on 8 November 2016, 4pm, at the Istana.

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SWAAB Supervision Guidelines Focus Group Discussions (Aug – Sept 2016)

The Social Work Accreditation and Advisory Board (SWAAB) has appointed a workgroup to look into the development of social work supervision guidelines in Singapore. The Workgroup comprises social workers with keen interest in social work supervision from the academia, government settings, medical social work settings and community-based agencies. The Workgroup has completed the first draft of the Social Work Supervision Guidelines and will be conducting focus group discussions (FGDs) to get feedback and inputs from the field.

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