SINGAPORE: Non-profit Muhammadiyah Association has been appointed Singapore's fifth fostering agency, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) announced in a media release on Thursday (Sep 5).
The appointment, as part of efforts to grow foster care in the community, took effect from Aug 1, 2019, MSF added.
The association joins four other fostering agencies: Epworth Community Services, Boys’ Town, Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura (PPIS) and The Salvation Army, which were appointed between 2015 and 2017.
As of June 2019, there were 510 foster families and 542 foster children.
"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," the release from MSF said.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said: "The fostering agencies play an important role in engaging the community to raise awareness of foster care.
"With the addition of Muhammadiyah Association, another valued partner committed to the welfare of vulnerable children, we hope to spread the word on fostering to many more families."
The MSF Fostering Service administers the Fostering Scheme for vulnerable children and young persons below the age of 18.
As of June 2019, there were about 1,150 vulnerable children and young persons placed in Out-of-Home Care (OHC), the ministry said, adding that these children were not able to stay with their natural families due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.
Associate Professor Faishal added: "We are grateful to our foster parents who have opened their hearts and homes to our vulnerable children.
"With the recent passing of the Children and Young Persons (Amendment) Bill in Parliament, we have stepped up our efforts to give better support to foster parents by extending childcare leave benefits to them. We hope that more families will step forward to care for our vulnerable children."
Those who are interested to find out more about fostering can visit roadshows at Clementi Mall from Sep 6 to Sep 8 and at Wisma Geylang Serai on Sep 8, MSF said.
Details are available on MSF's website.