The Adoption of Children Act 1939 was repealed, and re-enacted on 9 May 2022. Known as the Adoption of Children Act 2022 (ACA 2022), it will be effected in 2023.
With the child’s welfare as the key focus, the ACA 2022 aims to (a) find a good home for every child identified for adoption, (b) balance the interest of birth parents and the child, and (c) ensure a sound regulatory system for the adoption process.
The key changes are listed below. Refer to ACA 2022 on AGC's Singapore Statutes Online website for the full document.
|Eligibility to make an adoption application|
|Guardian-in-Adoption (“GIA”)||Applicants no longer need to make a separate application to seek MSF’s consent to act as the Guardian-In-Adoption (GIA), as a public officer (under MSF) will be appointed by the Minister.|
|Pre-adoption requirements||To be able to file an adoption application, the applicant(s) must have:|
- Attended the PAB
- Resided in Singapore for one continuous year before the date of application.
|Duty to notify AAA or GIA or material changes in circumstances ||During the adoption process, applicants must inform the AAAs or the GIA if there are any material changes to their circumstances that may affect their suitability to adopt the child. |
Consent of relevant persons
|The consent of a relevant person* for the adoption of a child is only considered valid if it is obtained in the form and procedure prescribed by the regulations, and when it is witnessed by 2 persons who are both at least 21 years old.
*A relevant person, in relation to a child, or a protected person, means any person who —
(a) is a parent or guardian of the child or protected person;
(b) has actual custody of the child or protected person; or
(c) is liable to contribute to the support of the child or protected person
|Powers to direct and request assessments, to order assessments, submission of further information and document(s) and to order mediation or counselling||If there is a need, the AAA and the GIA are empowered to direct applicant(s) or any relative or member of the household of any joint applicant or the sole applicant to undergo medical, psychiatric, or psychological assessments, or provide
any document or information that they consider relevant to the adoption application. |
The Court may also order the joint applicants (or either one of them) or sole applicant (as the case may be), or any relevant person to the child or the child before the court to undergo mediation or counselling etc.
|Restriction on publication or broadcast of information or pictures of children involved in adoption proceedings|
You must not publish or broadcast any information or picture that identifies or leads to the identification of a child who is undergoing adoption or has been adopted, unless the following conditions are met:
The Court may order for the publication or broadcast of the information or picture to be taken down or stopped.
|Restriction on publication or broadcast of information or pictures of children for adoption, etc.||Except with the prior approval of the GIA, a person must not publish or broadcast any information or picture that identifies any child or is likely to lead to the identification of any child, unless the information or picture is communicated
upon the request of a person who desires to adopt a child. |
Even so, the information and picture shared must be shared in a manner that ensures it is only accessible by the requestor.
|Publication of the amount to be paid to or through adoption |
Every adoption agency must make publicly available a list of the following information on payments or other rewards to be made or given by any person to or through the adoption agency:
|Prohibition against payments |
and rewards for non-permitted purposes
|A person must not make, give, receive, or agree to make, give, or receive any payment or other reward in consideration of an adoption in Singapore of a child or for any adoption-related service in connection with the adoption or proposed adoption
of a child, unless the payment or other reward is permitted under or approved by the GIA.|
|Use of fraud, duress, undue influence, or other improper means to obtain consent to adoption, etc.|
A person must not induce, or use any duress or other improper means with the knowledge to cause the following:
|Not complying with placement requirements|
|Providing false information, etc., in connection with ASA or GIA’s affidavit||A person who provides false or misleading information to the AAA or GIA will be guilty of an offence.|
|Not reporting offences to the GIA||Any person(s) who are aware or has reasons to suspect that an offence under the ACA has been committed must report it to the GIA or authorised officer as soon as they are able to. Failure to do so is an offence.|
|Failure to comply with order for removal and placement of child upon unsuccessful adoption application||In the case of an unsuccessful adoption application, the court may order the person to deliver the child to the physical custody of a suitable person recommended by the Guardian-in-Adoption within the time specified by the court. Any person
who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with the court order will be guilty of an offence.|