Current Landscape for Foster Care in Singapore
There are about 330 children on MSF’s Fostering Scheme today, cared for by over 280 foster parents. Foster children are usually vulnerable children who may have been abandoned, neglected, abused or whose parents or guardians are of ill-health and cannot look after them. Under the scheme, foster families provide caring homes to these children, and offer them an experience of positive family life which they may not have been able to experience in their natural family setting.
In general, foster families comprise married couples in the middle age range (mostly between 40 to 50 years old) who have children of their own. Some are childless couples. There are foster families from different races and nationalities. They come from all walks of life ranging from homemakers to working professionals.
Fostering Agencies Pilot
MSF would like to recruit more foster families and expand the fostering scheme. MSF’s objective is to double our fostering capacity to be able to care for about 600 vulnerable children within the next 5 years.
Under a 3-year pilot, MSF will appoint a few Fostering Agencies (FAs) that will help:
- Broaden our foster family outreach and recruitment efforts.
The appointed FAs will organise outreach initiatives to raise awareness of the need for foster parents and actively recruit new foster parents. FAs may tap on their community networks to reach out to potential foster parents. The final evaluation of the suitability of potential foster parents for appointment will remain with MSF.
- Provide support to foster parents to extend better care for their foster children.
The appointed FAs will provide regular support to foster parents to facilitate the care of the foster child. This includes counselling and parenting advice, conduct of training and help in integrating the foster child into their foster families. Staff in FAs will also maintain regular contact with the foster parents through phone calls or home visits.
MSF will work closely with the appointed FAs. Support such as training, joint case discussions and job shadowing with MSF Fostering Services staff will be provided to enable the FAs to further grow their capability to deliver quality foster care services.
MSF has selected 2 Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs), namely MCYC Community Services Society and Boys’ Town to set up FAs. The first FA is expected to be set up by mid 2015.
Overall, MSF will invest $8 million to fund Fostering Agencies over the next 3 years.
Boys' Town is a charity that reaches out to youth-in-need from disadvantaged and disengaged families. Boys’ Town works with youth typically between the ages of 10 and 21 who face hardship resulting from difficult living situations; poor nutrition; financial struggles; chaotic home environment; abandonment and abuse.
Each year, Boys’ Town reaches out to over 300 youth-in-need and their families. Boys’ Town’s key services include:
- Residential care
- Street outreach
- Clinical intervention
- Alternative schooling
- Social research and training
MCYC Community Services Society
MCYC Community Services Society (MCYC) is a social work agency that works with children, youths and their parents through programmes and services. MCYC works with families of all races, language and religion.
The agency’s programmes and services focus on disadvantaged, vulnerable and at-risk children and youths. MCYC’s philosophy is early intervention with target clients; working with parents so that the impact of intervention is sustained; and, supporting parents so that children and youths can develop well within a family setting. Currently, MCYC is involved in:
- School-based social work
- Youth work and counseling, including a Drop-In Youth Centre and a Therapeutic Group Home
- Training programmes for foster parents
- Student Care Centres
- Literacy Centre