MSF Plans To Change Adoption Laws, Will Make Unethical Adoption A Crime

Ally Villar
·3-min read

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is looking to make changes to laws and practices of child adoption in Singapore, particularly, the Adoption of Children Act. The changes will include making unethical practices illegal and giving courts more power to avoid the need for parental consent in many cases.

For the uninitiated, the Adoption of Children Act was last reviewed in 1985.

MSF Looking To Amend Adoption Laws And Practices

Image source: iStock

The MSF says these practices can be “tricking parents into providing consent to give their child up for adoption, hiding important information during the adoption process and ‘testing’ a child’s ‘adoptability’ as if they were up for sale.” Unethical adoption practices may also include:

  • Acquiring parental consent to give up a child for adoption through coercion

  • Not preparing complete and accurate documentation for the child

  • Entrusting a child to the care or company of applicants not suitable for adoption

Those involved in the process of applying for adoption will be called upon to highlight instances of such offences. Courts will also have more power to bypass the need for the consent of birth parents before adoption. This will be subject to certain instances including:

  • Persistent parental neglect or mistreatment

  • Chronic drug use by the parent

  • Parental abandonment

Provisions for child adoption in Singapore have been set because some parents still oppose it. This deprives the child of opportunities post adoption by caring parents with better resources.

Child Adoption Agencies In Singapore To Publish And Update Information Of Services

child adoption in singapore
child adoption in singapore

Image source: iStock

MSF say they will also obligate adoption agencies to publish and update information on fee and services. This is to partially address the lack of formal regulation for child adoption agencies in Singapore.

  • It clarifies that essential documents for adopting children are subject to government verification. This includes the child’s identification papers and notarized consent from the birth parents.

  • The courts will also examine details of payments to child adoption agencies in Singapore. Compensation for pre and post-natal expenses included.

  • All in all, an applicant will need to pay around S$25,000 to S$30,000. The fees includes the birth mother’s medical expenses, legal fees, and agency fees.

MSF is also looking into giving preference to applicants to have “strong ties” with Singapore. An example will be a habitual residency in the country. The ministry believes this is in line with international requirements. This is considering the declining number of foreign children available for adoption.

What You Need For Child Adoption In Singapore

child adoption in singapore
child adoption in singapore

Image source: iStock

Taking care of a child is a huge responsibility. If you do have resources to adopt and want to help a little one from a child adoption agency in Singapore, here are the main steps you need to go through:

1. Check your qualifications

In order to go through child adoption in Singapore, you must be a Singaporean or a permanent resident. Family Justice Courts may or may not permit holders of other passes to adopt.

2. You need to be at least 25-years-old

You also need to be between 21 and 50 years older than the child you are adopting. If you are planning to adopt a girl, you cannot be a single male with special circumstances.

3. You can adopt a child through your relatives, friends or any other entity

But you will have to adopt the child without transgressing the laws of any country. The child’s parents will also have to give a written consent for adoption.

4. The adoptee must be below 21-years-old

The child must also be either a Singapore citizen or a permanent resident. If you plan to adopt a foreign child, this will require more assessments. It may even include a month-long home study and detailed interviews with a social worker.

5. You need to apply for a Dependent’s Pass.

This is for the child to legally stay in Singapore until formalising the adoption.

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