- Foster parents keep in contact with the foster child’s natural parents through the Child Protection Officer and the Foster Care Officer. The ultimate goal for fostering is for the children to be reunited with their natural parents and we hope to keep their ties strong through regular meet ups with their natural parents. Foster parents will bring the child to the agreed meeting place, and the child will spend some time with their natural parents. Foster parents will then pick the child up after the session.
What are some of the common challenges faced by foster parents?When children first enter their foster homes, they may feel very disoriented and frightened in the new environment. Foster families, too, may not have a full understanding of the background of their foster children, their temperament and behavioural patterns. More often than not, this initial stage requires foster families to have commitment and patience as the children adapt to the new environment. In addition, some children who enter foster care may find it difficult to trust their foster parents, as the adults in their lives may have been negligent or abusive. Foster parents should be aware that these children may have been through some difficulties and they should try to make sense of the children's behaviours in light of what has happened to them. It takes time and patience to build a trusting relationship. Spending time with the child and understanding why the child is behaving the way they are can help the child to feel safe and understood. Only then can an emotional connection be established.
Is there a limit to the number of foster children I can take on or the number of years I can be a foster parent?The limit on the number of foster children depends on the living space in your home and you and your spouse’s capacity to care for the foster children.
I spank my children if they misbehave. Can I spank my foster child too, since I am caring for them?Physical punishment for foster children is not condoned. Instead, using positive parenting techniques such as setting boundaries, explaining consequences, time-out sessions and removing privileges will encourage good behaviour with the child. As a foster parent, if you have trouble coping with the behaviours of the foster child, your Foster Care Officer will work with you to resolve any issues that the foster child may be presenting.
What services and support will I receive as a foster parent with Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)?A Foster Care Officer will work closely with you to provide guidance and support. Besides financial support such as monthly fostering allowance, child care subsidies, and exemption of medical fees, there will also be ongoing training, support group sessions, respite care and 24-hour emergency support and crisis hotline.
How does Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) help the foster child make the transition when returning to his or her natural parents?The foster parents' help is often enlisted to support the child through the process of reintegration with the natural parents. The Child Protection Officer together with the foster parents will prepare the child and help the child to understand the move back to his or her natural parents. Access time with natural parents is introduced gradually to check on the readiness of both natural parents and the child before plans for reintegration can be made. Once it is assessed that it is safe for the child to return to the natural parents, the child is allowed to return home under the close supervision of Child Protection Service. The Child Protection Officer would also continue to make unannounced surprise visits to check on the level of care provided by the natural parents and to ensure the safety of the child.
I would like to organise some activities at one of the children’s home. How can I go about doing so?
If you would like to volunteer at a Voluntary Children's Home (VCH) or to organise an activity at one of the VCHs, you may contact the homes to find out more. Please refer to the MSF website [here] for more information.
How can I volunteer to help vulnerable children?
If you are unable to commit to being a full-time foster parent, you may volunteer with our Fostering Agencies and make a difference to the lives of our children. For more information, please visit our Fostering page [here].