Guides & References
Foster Care and Adoption
Foster Care & Adoption
Are you struggling to decide what’s best for yourself? Find out more about each of the available options and think carefully before making any decision.
Foster Care vs. Adoption
Fostering is a temporary care arrangement and the goal is to reunite the children with their natural parents. Foster children remain the legal children of their natural parents.
Adoption, on the other hand, is a legal process where an adopted child assumes the rights of a natural child of the family.
i. What is it: Foster care is a way of providing family life for the children who are unable to stay with their parents.
ii. To be eligible:
- Your child must be below the age of 18
- You are unable to take care of your child
iii. How does this affect my child?
A child on the Fostering Scheme keeps his/her identity (i.e. own name) and continues to be the legal child of his/her biological parents. If the situation allows, the child may eventually return to his/her biological parents.
iv. Will my child be safe?
Foster parents must meet a series of stringent criteria set out by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to be accepted for the placement of foster children. They need to attend regular courses on child care arranged by MSF. MSF pays a fostering allowance and an educational allowance to the foster family to cover the child’s expenses.
There are currently four accredited fostering agencies:
1. Epworth Foster Care (part of Epworth Community Services)
Tel: 6715 3725
4. The Salvation Army Gracehaven Fostering
Tel/Whatsapp: 8833 8173 https://www.salvationarmy.org/singapore/gracehaven_fostering
i. What is it: Adoption is the legal act of entrusting your child to another person/couple to bring him/her up as their own.
ii. To be eligible:
- The child must be a resident of Singapore (i.e. a Singapore Citizen, Singapore Permanent Resident or Dependant’s Pass holder). A child is not regarded as a resident if the child is residing in Singapore on a visit pass, a student’s pass or a special pass. (see Section 4(7)(a)(b) of the Adoption of Child Act.)
- The child must be below 21 years of age (see Section 3(2) of the Adoption of Child Act.)
- Consent from both parents is needed if the biological father and/or mother is unmarried and below the age of 21 years
iii. Things to note:
- It is against the law for biological parents to receive payments in return of giving up their child without the court’s approval.
- Teenage mothers must declare the details of the child’s father, and if the father is unknown, to state as unknown.
iv. How does this affect my child?
From the law’s perspective, all legal ties between your child and you will be broken off. The adoptive parent(s) will have all the rights and responsibilities in caring and educating the child.
Once the legal statement is signed and the child is surrendered, there is no “turning back”.
v. Will my child be safe?
Child adoption in Singapore has a strict set of criteria and rules. Anyone who wishes to adopt a child from MSF will need to apply for a Home Study Report, which is conducted by professional social service staff. This is a comprehensive investigation to assess if the potential adoptive parents are ready for to adopt a child. They need to attend a Pre-Adoption Briefing (PAB) to ensure they are prepared and eligible to adopt. The adoptive parents will also be strongly encouraged to attend an Adoption Disclosure workshop.
vi. Other things to note
Placing your child for adoption can be traumatic (Source: Henney, Ayers-Lopez, McRoy, & Grotevant, 2007). You may experience grief, anger and guilt (Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway)
vii. Pre-Adoption Briefing
Attending a Pre-Adoption Briefing (available in 3 languages: English, Mandarin and Malay) is compulsory before identifying a child for adoption and applying for a home study or making an application to the Court. For details on the available briefing sessions, click here.
Find out more information:
There are currently four accredited adoption agencies:
1. What it is: It is a medical procedure taken to end a pregnancy by removing a foetus or embryo from the womb before it can survive on its own.
2. Other things to note
- You may experience menstrual cramps after the procedure
- Light bleeding may occur when your menses returns after 4-5 weeks
- Avoid having sex for about 2 weeks after the procedure
- Continue to observe your body for unusual symptoms
- You may experience “Post Abortion Syndrome” or “PAS” (i.e. emotional problems experienced after an abortion experience)
3. Potential risks (varying dependent on individuals):
- Heavy bleeding
- Prolonged abdominal pain
- Reduced chances of pregnancy
- Emotions such as the feeling of loss and regret
4. Finding someone to talk to after the abortion
The aftermath effects of an abortion can take a toll on your emotions. Don’t let your past hold you back. Find someone to talk to about it.
5. Voices of reason
If you’re still unsure of what to do, speak to someone who will be able to provide you with some professional advice.
Family Life Society Pregnancy Crisis Service
Helpline: 6339 9770 (24-hour)
Address: Agape Village, 7A Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, #04-01, Singapore 319264