SINGAPORE - The Muhammadiyah Association has been appointed as the fifth agency to grow foster care, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said on Thursday (Sept 5).
The appointment took effect on Aug 1. The association joins four other fostering agencies - Epworth Community Services, Boys' Town, Singapore Muslim Women's Association and The Salvation Army - that were appointed by the MSF between 2015 and 2017.
The association has been serving the community for over 60 years. It also runs the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home set up in 1989, which provides rehabilitation programmes for children and at-risk young people to reintegrate with their families and the community.
The MSF announcement comes a day after the Children and Young Persons (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament on Wednesday, according childcare leave benefits to foster parents.
There were 510 foster families and 542 foster children in June this year, said the MSF in a statement on Thursday.
In the same month, there were about 1,150 vulnerable children and young people placed in out-of-home care, as they were unable to live with their natural families due to abuse, neglect or abandonment, said the ministry.
For these children and young people, their main care options here are foster care and residential care, such as MSF's youth and children homes.
"Foster care is a temporary arrangement where foster parents take care of children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned, giving these children an opportunity to grow up in a nurturing home environment," added the ministry.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said that with the increased support for foster parents in terms of childcare leave, he hopes that more families would step forward to care for vulnerable children.
The MSF added that as part of ongoing outreach efforts, there are fostering roadshows this week for those interested to find out more about fostering. The roadshows will be at Clementi Mall from Friday to Sunday and at Wisma Geylang Serai on Sunday.