Foster care is the placement of a minor in a private home-either relative or non-relative, group home, or institution, arranged by a government or social-services agency. Depending on the country of origin and the nature of a case; a minor placed in foster care can be temporary or long-term. In the event of long-term placement, adoption or independent living are options available for the child. In addition, the process of licensing, certifying, or approving a foster parent may vary from country to country.
Foster parenting is a complex and sensitive subject matter for several reasons. First, the removal process can be just as traumatizing as the reason for removal of the child in government or social-services custody. Second, the inherent ‘fear of the unknown’ living with a non-relative or an estranged relative, can be frightening for a child who experienced a removal. Third, welcoming, learning about, and responding to the child’s all-encompassing needs, can be a difficult yet rewarding experience for a foster parent.
The need for more foster parents to provide a safe home for children is high. Community outreach, hosting recruitment events, utilizing social media platforms, and providing resources that support foster families, are just a few ways to recruit and retain foster parents. In the article, “Number of foster families in Singapore up 70% in three years,” according to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), there was a 73 percent increase of foster parents from 243 families in 2013, to 420 families in 2016.
The fact that the number of foster families in Singapore increased over the years is commendable. Protecting children requires a collective effort. However, how to recruit foster families willing to care for children with special needs and certain age groups, and the possibility of parent-child reunification, are just a few barriers that every nation faces regarding children in the foster care system.
In conclusion, Singapore appears to be heading in the right direction about resolving child welfare matters. Because child protection is a shared responsibility, raising public awareness to prevent child abuse and educating Singaporean parents about resources available to maintain a safe environment for their child, can reduce the number of children in the foster care system. In the meantime, it is with great hope that foster parents, who make a difference in the lives of children, are supported and appreciated.
Number of foster families in Singapore up 70% in three years (2017, March 8). Channel NewsAsia, Retrieved from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/number-of-foster-families-in-singapore-up-70-in-three-years-8768856
Ariffin, A. (2017, May 10). PPIS third agency appointed to support foster care for children.
Channel NewsAsia, Retrieved from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/ppis-third-agency-appointed-to-support-foster-care-for-children-8835166
Johnson, H. (2005). Literature review of foster care, Retrieved from http://www.crin.org/en/docs/literature%20review%20of%20foster%20care.pdf
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Aneeta Pearson, MSW, MS
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