The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will appoint a third fostering agency in 2017 to better provide support for foster parents and facilitate the care of foster children. This is in line with MSF’s vision for vulnerable children to be placed in family-based care such as foster care.
In 2015, MSF appointed the first two fostering agencies, Voluntary Welfare Organisations MCYC Community Services Society and Boys’ Town, to further grow foster care in the community. With support from MSF and the Social Service Institute, both agencies have been steadily strengthening their capabilities and capacity. Other than counselling and parenting advice, the agencies also provide case management services to help foster families better care for their foster children. At the same time, the agencies also look into outreach efforts to recruit more foster parents.
Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin announced the appointment of the third fostering agency at the Fostering 60 Celebration Party. He said, “We want to see more vulnerable children in Out-of-Home Care placed with families. Fostering is a key pillar of the Out-of-Home Care sector. In line with this direction, I am happy that the first two fostering agencies have been growing in their capabilities and are currently providing fostering services for 150 vulnerable children, or about one-third of the total number of children in fostering. To expand the capacity of fostering, we will need more community agencies to support and join us in this work. The third fostering agency will enable more children to benefit from family-based care.”
Over the last three years, the number of children in foster care grew from 27% of the total number of children in care in 2013 to 37% this year, while children in residential care has dropped from 65% to 55%.
Guest-of-Honour at the Fostering 60 Celebration Party, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam said, “The commitment and passion of our foster families is what helps vulnerable children grow into confident youth, and is truly heartening. I hope more Singaporeans will step forward to open their homes and hearts to care for these children, especially for children above 7 years old and with special needs.”
The Fostering Service closes off its 60th anniversary celebration with its annual appreciation party on 18 November 2016 attended by over 1,000 foster families and children. Over the past 60 years, foster families have made a positive impact on the lives of over 5,500 foster children.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
SETUP OF THIRD FOSTERING AGENCY
- What is the progress of the first two fostering agencies?
Both fostering agencies have been making good progress through the training, coaching and support provided by MSF and the Social Service Institute. We are glad to see the capability rising in the fostering agencies. Together, they are currently providing fostering services for about 150 vulnerable children. This makes up about one-third of the total number of children in fostering today.
- Why is a third fostering agency being set up?
As part of MSF’s direction to grow family and community-based care options for vulnerable children, we will continue to increase the overall capacity of foster care and to grow capability in fostering work in the sector. Setting up the third fostering agency will enable more children to benefit from family-based care.
- What is the role of a fostering agency?
MSF-appointed fostering agencies help to organise outreach initiatives to raise awareness of the need for foster parents and actively recruit new foster parents. Fostering agencies may tap on their community networks to reach out to potential foster parents. The agencies also provide case management services and regular support to foster parents to facilitate the care of the foster child. This includes counselling and parenting advice, and help in integrating the foster child into their foster families. Staff in the fostering agencies maintain regular contact with foster parents through phone calls or home visits.
OUT-OF-HOME CARE LANDSCAPE
- How many children are in foster care and residential care today?
As at end September 2016, there are about 439 children in foster care and 662 children in residential care.