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Singapore Government

Welcome Address by Minister Masagos Zulkifli at the Awards Ceremony for Foster Children and Youth 2022

Welcome Address by Minister Masagos Zulkifli at the Awards Ceremony for Foster Children and Youth 2022

Foster Families, Boys and Girls,

Members of the Committee on Fostering

Fostering Agencies and Partners

Introduction 

1. Good morning and welcome to today’s awards ceremony. 

2. I’m sure all of us are happy to come together once again as a fostering community, to celebrate the achievements of our foster children and youth. 

Importance of Families

3. In Singapore, families form the bedrock of our society. They have been and will continue to be our first line of support. Families stabilise us, they shape our character, they pass on good values, they build us up as resilient individuals. Families are so important, we are celebrating them this year. 2022 is the Year of Celebrating SG Families. Acknowledging the efforts of everyone in society who help build strong families.    

4. Foster families like yours are special families. Having a warm home to return to, provides children and youth with the safety and stability to learn and develop. And having a family provides these children with the love, structure and support they need to thrive. 

5. Let me express my heartfelt thanks to all of you for opening your hearts and homes to our foster children. You responded to our call to welcome the children into your homes and provide them with a loving and safe environment. You made sacrifices and adjustments to your daily lives and ensured that their needs are met. I commend your commitment to support our children and in the process mould the next generation.

Celebrate Achievements

6. Congratulations to our children, our award winners. You have overcome challenges and displayed outstanding qualities. Some of you have shown exemplary character, while others have demonstrated excellence in your academic work, sports or the arts. Keep up the good work! 

7. Let me share about the achievements of one of our award recipients; “Hanis”, not her real name. An exemplary student, this young lady was also a school prefect and was active in school events. Through her hard work and determination, she became one of the few in her cohort who qualified to enrol in a special school-to-work programme.

8. Initially, Hanis had some reservations about joining the programme, but with the encouragement of her foster family and teachers, she persevered and performed well. She recently graduated from the programme and was awarded the “Best Trainee Award”. Well done, Hanis!

9. The achievements of each child and youth today, are also achievements of their foster families, and case workers. Every child needs someone to believe in them, see the best in them, and support them. Your efforts have given these foster children and youth the opportunity to shine.  

Support for foster families

10. Ladies and gentlemen, fostering brings with it both joys and challenges. I would like to assure foster families that you are not alone. MSF and our fostering agencies stand ready to support you and journey alongside you.

11. One of the initiatives my Ministry recently announced was the increase in fostering allowance. The foster allowance better supports foster families in meeting the needs of the foster children. It is part of a suite of measures to support our foster families in caring for foster children, which also includes subsidies and childcare leave provisions. 

12. We have also rolled out digital resources to make information accessible to foster parents. One example is the welcome kit for newly-appointed foster parents, which is accessible online. In addition, we have developed an e-learning module on the Principles of Safe and Positive Care, to guide foster parents on their core responsibilities and how they can provide good care for their foster children. We plan to roll out more training programmes online so that foster parents can tap on the training from the comfort of your homes. 

Role of Community Partners 

13. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our partners for being a vital part of the fostering community. We are thankful for the strong network of professionals and volunteers, who are committed to improving the lives and well-being of our foster children and families.  

14. Thank you to the fostering agencies, the Committee on Fostering members, and all others who have been supporting our foster children and families through the years. Your role has been key to strengthening the fostering landscape. Together, you exemplify the spirit of a caring community. 

Conclusion 

15. In closing, I would like to share a quote by a foster parent, “Since love is free, why not share it with those who need it most. When we give love to these children, we get great satisfaction knowing that these children have a home, a family and someone to rely on.” 

16. Each of us can do our part to build a better home, and a strong network of support, for children in foster care. As a community, we can give every child the support they need, to reach their potential and strive for a better future. Together, we will ensure that no child is left behind.   

17. Once again, congratulations to all the award winners and a big thank you to all the foster families and those who have supported them!

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