Family Programme


What Is It

Family is the key support system in Singapore’s many helping hands approach. However, working with families is not easy: In family work, caseworkers often encounter families that are uncooperative, difficult to engage or confrontational, impeding the intervention that they require.


EQUAL's Family Programme is a family intervention programme that uses equine-assisted learning to support youth going through relationship stresses with their families. It aims to support caseworkers by providing an avenue that may increase the engagement levels in some families, paving the way for intervention to follow effectively and efficiently.

How We Do It

The Family Programme utilises Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL), a form of group work that uses experiential learning to develop social-emotional skills in beneficiaries. In EAL, majestic and gentle therapy horses serve as a unique bridging element and scaffolding, creating the mirroring and observational learning that aids the acquisition of new behaviors as described in social learning theory.


The activities are centred on creating intentional interaction between family members: Horseplay (playing interactive games or completing challenges with horses), animal care, horse riding and trail walks in the forest.


Debriefs conducted at the end of every session help families parallel the learning outcome and translate it to the home setting where it can be applied. The debriefs are conducted by EQUAL instructors using the Equine Experiential Education facilitation method, which is based on Kolb’s Stage Theory of Experiential Learning and the Pfeiffer and Jones Stage Model of Questioning.


Anchoring the learning outcome on a powerful and unique experience improves retention and helps sustain the impact on the families. To this end, the family’s caseworkers are encouraged to accompany the families on the EAL sessions in order to build on the behaviourial and mindset changes that emerge.

Target beneficiaries

  • Youth who are Beyond Parental Control and their families

  • Youth who are reunifying with their natural families

  • Youth who are transiting to foster families

  • Other at-risk youth for whom family work is necessary

Our Clients

Funded By

Supported By


  • Improve family relationship

  • Uncover underlying values and belief systems affecting relationships

  • Deepen empathy, improve communication skills and build new bonds

  • Facilitate the creation of solutions and action plans by the family itself

  • Share solutions and action plans with caseworkers to sustain impact on the families in between and after the EAL sessions

Programme Structure

  • 5 sessions, weekly or fortnightly

  • 3 hours each

  • Weekdays or weekends

©2019 by Equal-Ark Singapore Ltd

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