Is fostering different from adoption?

Yes. A foster child keeps his/her own identity and continues to be a legal child of his/her natural parents. Foster parents help to care for these children until they are ready to be returned to the care of their own families.

Adoption, on the other hand, is a legal process where an adopted child assumes the rights of a natural child of the family. The family would assume the same responsibilities as they would for their own children.

Who are the children who require foster care?

Children who require foster care may have been hurt by abuse or neglect, or are unable to be cared for by their parents who may be ill, incarcerated or have passed away. As a foster parent, the love and care you provide to these children in a family environment will be vital to their healing, growth and development.

Can I adopt my foster child?

Fostering is a temporary care arrangement and our goal is to reunite the child with their natural parents. Foster children remain the legal children of their natural parents. However, in the rare event that a foster child has been abandoned or his/ her parents cannot be found, the foster parents may adopt the child if they meet the necessary criteria.

How long does a foster child usually stay with a foster family?

Fostering is a temporary care arrangement and our goal is to reunite the child with their natural parents. Typically, the shortest that a foster child stays with a foster family is about 6 months. However, the length of stay varies as it is dependent on the natural family’s ability to care for the child. Where reunion with the natural family has not been possible, there have been instances where the foster child has stayed on with the foster parents on a longer term basis. In all these considerations, the best interest of the child is the utmost priority.

Where is the greatest need for foster parents now?

We welcome applicants interested in fostering children of all ages. However, there is a shortage of foster parents who can care for children 7 years and older, as well as children with special and/or medical needs.

Can I choose the children I want to care for?

You can indicate the age and gender of children whom you feel you can best care for. Foster parents will be matched to a child according to the child’s needs and their ability to care for the child.

Application and pre-requisites

Where can I find the application form?

Please leave your contact number and email address via the enquiry form. We will get in touch with you shortly.

What supporting documents do I need to submit together with my application form?

  • Copy of NRIC/Employment Pass/Dependent Pass of Male and Female Applicants
  • Copy of Birth Certificate/NRIC/Dependent Pass of Immediate and Household Family Members (including tenants and domestic helpers).
  • Copy of latest Payslip of main income earner. Employment Letter/Income Tax Return Form may be provided if payslip is unavailable.

How long will my application take to process?

When you apply to be a foster parent, you and your household members have to be assessed on your ability to meet the needs of the child. You will also undergo medical and other screenings. Home visits will be conducted to assess the home environment. The assessment process may take 2 – 3 months to complete. Once approved, you will be supported for the task and journey of fostering by going through a series of training.

Is having window grilles a pre-requisite of being a foster parent?

It is important for us to ensure a child-safe environment for foster children, as it is a huge responsibility to care for someone else’s children, especially in the light of several tragic cases of child deaths due to falls from windows. As a result, installing window grilles at home is one of our safety requirements if you are caring for foster children from the age of toddlerhood to 12 years of age. If there are no window grilles and you are not able to install any, MSF will only be able to youths above the age of 12 years with you.

I am an expatriate. Can I apply to be a foster parent?

Yes. As we would like to minimise disruption to a child’s stay with the foster family as much as possible, expatriates who apply to be a foster parent should be set to remain in Singapore for a minimum of 3 years.

Foster parenting

Can the foster child travel with their foster families?

Travel consent is subjected to the approval of the birth parents. Should consent not be granted, the foster child will be placed in the care of another MSF-registered foster family or MSF-approved respite carer for the duration.

How do I help a foster child who might be traumatised or who may have emotional problems?

Being patient and caring towards the child is very important to helping such children. Training will be provided for foster parents on topics such as helping children with trauma and attachment issues, or with emotional and behavioural needs. If a child requires professional help, their Child Protection Officer can refer them to a psychologist or counsellor at MSF or at a social service agency.

What if I can’t cope with the behaviour of a foster child or if the foster child cannot fit into my family?

Before placement, Epworth social workers would normally work with the foster parents to assess if the placement of a particular child is a good fit. If there are issues, the social workers will work closely with the child and the foster family to try and resolve any issues which arise. If needed, other professional services such as counselling or psychological
assessments and interventions will also be provided. If all else fails however, alternative
care arrangements will be made for the child if that is assessed to be the best option. However, such changes are disruptive to the children. It is advised that foster parents think carefully and discuss with family members before accepting the placement.

I spank my children if they misbehave. Can I spank my foster child too, since I am caring for them?

Physical punishment for foster children is not condoned. As these children may have
gone through trauma, physical punishment may invoke unhappy memories and negative emotional reactions in the child. Instead, using positive parenting techniques such as setting boundaries, explaining consequences, time-out sessions and removing privileges will encourage good behaviour with the child.

If you have trouble coping with the behaviour of the foster child, our social workers can work with you to resolve any issues that the foster child may be presenting.

Student Care

What are the criterias to enrol my child in the Student Care?

  • Student of ACS Junior or ACS Primary respectively
  • Student must be a Singaporean
  • Both parents are working
  • No alternative care arrangement

What are the programme in the Student Care?

  • 1 hour of supervised study time (daily)
  • 2 hours Enrichment Programme (in a week)
  • 2 hours Character Development Programme (in a week)
  • 2 hours Outdoor Activities (in a week)

When does P1 Registration for the Student Care start?

Registration period varies. Do contact the respective centres for more information.

Contact for ACS (P): Ms Julie Chu (6259 7579/ 9825 8870)

Contact for ACS (J): Ms Carol Aw (6592 2846/ 9727 0614)

Is there transport arrangement after Student Care?

No.  Parents need to make own arrangement.

What are the COVID-19 safety measures implemented in Student Care?

In-line with MOE & MSF guidelines, we have implemented the safety measures below:

  • Seating arrangement for students is 1 meter apart.
  • Student’s temperature taken twice a day.
  • Student are reminded to wash their hands before and after food, visit to the toilet or participation in activities.
  • Group activities are carried out within the same level or class.
  • Outdoor play of maximum 5 students in a group.
  • Daily disinfection of the Student Care.

How do you manage bully in the centre?

If there is a bully in the centre, the staff will monitor that child, talk to him and the parents.  The school will also be informed.

How does the centre manage conflict between students?

  • Staff would investigate the cause of conflict.
  • Students would be counseled.
  • Parents would be informed.
  • Appropriate actions would be taken.