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Adoption of Children Act

The Adoption of Children Act (ACA) 2022 was passed in Parliament on 9 May 2022. Watch this space for more updates. 

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
  • Applicant(s) must be habitually resident in Singapore.

  • When joint applicants apply to adopt a child – at least one of the applicants must be a Singapore Citizen or both applicants must be Permanent Residents.  

  • When sole applicants apply – they must either be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident

  • Persons convicted of serious crimes cannot adopt.
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 requirementsTo be able to file an adoption application, the applicant(s) must have:

  • Attended a Pre-Adoption Briefing (PAB);​ and
  • Attended a briefing on disclosure of adoptive status conducted by Authorised Adoption Agencies (AAA); and​
  • Obtained a valid and favourable Adoption Suitability Assessment (ASA) by an AAA. To apply for an ASA, you 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 counsellingIf 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.

The following are offences under the ACA 2022:



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 child has turned 21 years old and consents to the divulging of information; or

  • You successfully adopted the child and consent to the identification of the child; or

  • The adoption is ongoing or unsuccessful and a relevant person* of the protected person consents to the publication or broadcast; or

  • The Guardian-In-Adoption gives his or her approval. 

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 
agencies, etc.​

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:  

  • The amount of every payment in consideration of the adoption of a child or for an adoption-related service;​

  • The nature of every reward (other than a payment) to be given in consideration of the adoption or for an adoption-related service;​
  • A reasonable estimate of the monetary value of every reward (if quantifiable).​
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:

  • The agreement of a relevant person of a child to offer or refrain from offering the child for adoption in Singapore;​

  • The transfer of the physical custody of a child, or the custody or care and control of a child, with a view to the child’s adoption in Singapore;​

  • The consent of a relevant person of a child required under section 26 or the revocation of the consent. ​
Not complying with placement requirements
  • Adoption applicants should not be residing with the child identified for adoption nor should the child be placed under their care without a favorable ASA*.  
    (*this does not apply to circumstances where the child is a stepchild, a relative of the applicants, or a foster child committed to the care of the applicants under the Children and Young Persons Act)
  • Placement of the child with the potential adopter can only take place once the adoptive applicants have obtained a favorable ASA as well as the child’s Dependant’s Pass In-Principle Approval (IPA) of the Dependant’s Pass for non-Singapore citizen and non-PR children.  
  • In the case of a premature placement, the court may order the potential adopter 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.
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 applicationIn 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.