Foster families can help change children's lives

My wife and I recently visited the Ministry of Social and Family Development's Fostering Service roadshow, which was held at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub Atrium.

We were inspired to become foster parents by a friend's parents, who are in their late 50s and have fostered three children since early 2000.

Foster children are usually vulnerable youth who may have been abandoned, neglected or abused. Their parents or guardians may be ill, imprisoned or cannot look after them.

Under the scheme, foster families provide caring homes to these children, and offer them apositive family life, which they may not have been able to experience in their natural family setting.

A female officer at the roadshow patiently explained the fostering scheme to us, as well as the demands and huge responsibilities of becoming a foster parent.

She also shared with us wonderful stories of foster parents, such as Madam Indranee Nadisen, who was called a "super foster mum" for having cared for more than 40 foster children in her many years of service as a foster parent.

I hope more people will come on board as foster parents and make a difference to the lives of such children.

I have noted that not many people are aware of the fostering scheme, and some view it as a kind of legal adoption, which is very different. The ministry and its agencies could hold more such roadshows on a regular basis at shopping centres or community centres to reach out to more people and help them understand the fostering scheme.

Muhammad Dzul Azhan Haji Sahban

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2015, with the headline 'Foster families can help change children's lives'. Print Edition | Subscribe