No extra perks if unwed mums adopt own children

We thank Ms Lynne Tan Sok Hiang, Dr Lee Woon Kwang and the Association of Women for Action and Research for their letters (Legitimate or not, every child is important, May 15; All children deserve equal treatment, Forum Online, May 14 and; Time to do away with 'illegitimacy', Forum Online, May 13 , respectively).

We recognise the challenges that many unwed mothers face.

This is why, currently, all Singaporean children get to enjoy the entire suite of Government benefits that support their growth and development, regardless of the marital status of their parents.

The benefits include the Medisave grant for newborns, infant care and childcare subsidies and foreign domestic worker levy concession.

All Singaporean children also have access to social assistance, education and healthcare subsidies.

On top of these, the Child Development Account benefits and Government-Paid Maternity Leave were recently extended to include unwed mothers and their children.

Benefits such as the Baby Bonus Cash Gift and housing benefits are tied to the parent's marital status.

The benefits will not be extended even if an unwed mother adopts her own child, as they are meant to encourage parenthood within marriage.

Unwed mothers who require more support may approach any Social Service Office for financial assistance or Family Service Centre for socio-emotional support.

Unwed mothers do not benefit more from government policies and schemes even if they adopt their own children.

However, unwed mothers may seek to adopt their own children for personal reasons, such as to terminate the rights and responsibilities of the biological fathers and establish themselves as the sole parent.

This is a decision to be weighed carefully, factoring in the best interests of the child.

The effect of the adoption would mean that there is no longer a parental relationship between the child and his or her biological father.

The child would also not be able to seek maintenance from the father under the Women's Charter.

Yee Siaw Ling (Ms)
Family Service Division
Ministry of Social and Family Development

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2017, with the headline No extra perks if unwed mums adopt own children. Subscribe