askST: What are the procedures a same-sex couple have to go through to adopt a child?

Reader Alexis Heng asked about the procedures a same-sex couple has to go through in order to adopt a child and obtain Singapore citizenship for him or her. He also asked if the child qualifies for Baby Bonus benefits.

Social affairs reporter Janice Tai checks with government agencies.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) did not comment on whether same-sex couples are able to adopt a child and if there is a historical precedent of same-sex couples doing so.

The ministry, however, said that all prospective adopters are assessed on a case by case basis.

Factors taken into consideration include the circumstances of the child and the applicant, the applicant's parenting capacity, parenting beliefs, family circumstances, support network and ability to meet the child's needs.

The best interests of the child is the primary consideration in assessing adoption applications and when matching children with the existing list of potential adopters.

Applications for adoption and citizenship are separate processes with different requirements.

Even if the same-sex couple successfully adopts a child, the adoption does not automatically mean that the child can be a Singapore citizen. Each application for Singapore citizenship is evaluated on a range of criteria on its own merits.

Children who are Singapore citizens and whose parents are married are eligible for Baby Bonus benefits. Same-sex marriage is not recognised in Singapore.

For children who were originally not citizens and adopted by married couples, these benefits may vary depending on the age at which the child becomes a Singapore citizen.

jantai@sph.com.sg