betty August 13, 2022

SINGAPORE – Greater financial support will be given to foster parents from September as part of efforts by the Government to encourage more people to take on the role.

The monthly fostering allowance will be increased from $936 to $1,100 for those caring for children, said Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli on Saturday (Aug 13).

Those looking after children with special needs will have the allowance raised from $1,114 to $1,500 to better support their therapy, intervention and transport needs.

The increments will be covered by an additional $1.5 million annual investment by the ministry, he added.

There are currently about 550 foster children, of whom about 20 per cent have special needs.

Mr Masagos said the higher allowance is part of the ministry’s comprehensive suite of measures to support foster families and children.

He was speaking at an in-person seminar at Enabling Village at Lengkok Bahru, with 170 participants, to encourage more families to step forward as foster parents.

“Foster families also receive childcare, early intervention and healthcare subsidies, childcare leave and support from social workers. We recognise that foster parents often go the extra mile in caring for their foster children,” he said.

He added that he is glad to see more foster families – there were 595 in 2021, up from 564 in 2020.

“We want more children to experience the joy and warmth of a family. Correspondingly, this also means that fewer children will require placement in residential care.

“To support this continued shift, we will review the out-of-home care sector structure and consult our community partners,” he said.

He noted that when the ministry first started its efforts to transform the out-of-home care sector in 2013, the proportion of vulnerable children cared for by foster families was just 29 per cent.

In 2021, it was 51 per cent. The rest are in residential care homes such as Boys’ Town and Muhammadiyah Welfare Home run by social service agencies.

These vulnerable children may have been neglected, abused or abandoned.