About Fostering: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Fostering?

Fostering is when a family agrees to provide care for someone else’s child on a non-permanent basis. The children in our care will reside with a foster family for an agreed upon duration. The foster family will be expected to care for and provide for the child like they would their own children for the period that the child stays with them. They are also required to support regular contact between the foster child and their birth family, as well as to work closely with the Sanctuary Care staff.

What is Sanctuary Care Fostering?

Sanctuary Care fostering is a voluntary fostering programme offering short-term placements (1 week to 18 months) to children whose families are experiencing difficulties which makes it impossible for them to care for their children for a period of time. Sanctuary Care offers short-term fostering so the family can be supported to remain together in the long-term. The children referred to our service are, mainly, aged between newborn and 7 years, although we do occasionally get referrals for older children and teenagers.

I am a Foreigner - Can I Foster with Sanctuary Care?

Yes! Anyone who is residing in Singapore, and will be in a position to commit for at least one year, is welcome to contact us to find out more about fostering. Please click here to view our Eligibility Criteria for a Foster Parent.

What is the aim of foster care?

The aim of foster care is to provide an alternative care environment so a child’s needs can be met. Foster care is intended to provide stability for the children while a caseworker helps their biological parents prepare to meet their children’s needs at home.

What is the Process to Become a Foster Parent?

  1. Fill out the application form (Link here). Send it back with supporting documents
  2. We will send your information, and that of all family members over 18 to the relevant authorities for clearance (4 weeks)
  3. Undertake an assessment which will usually include a minimum of 3 home visits 6-8 weeks)
  4. Application will be then be considered by our management for approval. (2 weeks)

How old are the foster children?

Sanctuary Care typically provides foster care for infants between the ages of 0 to 3 years, though we have had children up to the age of 6 years in our care. Foster carers can specify the age of children for which they would be willing to provide care.

What are the Commitments Required from Foster Parents?

Foster parents should:

  1. Care for the child/children in their own home for an agreed upon period of time
  2. Consent to supporting and assisting contact between the child and their parents/family
  3. Agree to work closely with professionals in the best interests of the child

Outside of providing a loving home environment, are there any other commitments I need to be aware of as a foster carer?

We ask our foster carers for a commitment to ensure that the children in our care are safe, happy and healthy and that they maintain an emotional connection with their families.

Do the children return home?

Children are generally required to return home to their biological parents at least once a week. Typically, chaperones (either volunteers or staff members) pick the children up for weekly access and return them to the foster family after a 24-hour period. While there is a fixed visitation schedule, there may be some variations to the routine from time to time due to unforeseen circumstances.

Does anyone visit the children?

Caseworkers periodically visit children and their carers at home. Generally, these visits are scheduled in advance. However, in rare instances, caseworkers may require urgent access to the children. We seek foster carers’ cooperation in facilitating access to the children in their care.

My family attends a religious service. Can we bring the foster child with us?

We ask our foster carers to respect the cultural heritage and any religious beliefs of the birth parents, while their babies and children are in your care. The Sanctuary Care team will be able to answer any questions you may have about the specifics of each case and/or support you during this time.

Can I exchange numbers with the parents?

Lastly, we ask that foster carers do not make contact with their child’s biological parent(s). Should there be any reason, medical or otherwise where the biological parent needs to be contacted urgently, Sanctuary Care will ensure this will happen on behalf of the foster carer.

What financial support is provided to foster carers?

Foster carers do not receive monetary allowance. However, Sanctuary Care provides in-kind support for most necessities such as milk, diapers, clothing, toys, utensils and sterilisers. Please check with us first before you purchase any items for the care of your foster child.

What other support is provided to foster carers?

Members of the Sanctuary Care team are available to answer any queries that may arise during placement. In addition, a senior member of staff is on call for after-hours emergencies. We are growing a support network of foster carers that can provide emotional and community support for one another. We currently facilitate gatherings (e.g., workshops on creating memory books to document this special time for the children in your care). We will also be setting up a virtual community on Facebook, which will allow foster carers to share their experiences and resources online.

How many children can a foster carer support at any one time?

Typically one or two. This really depends on the ability of foster carers to care for multiple children.

What happens if a foster carer goes on holiday overseas?

Foster carers must notify Sanctuary Care of any overseas holidays they are planning to take if they have a child in their care. With enough notice provided, respite arrangements will be made to ensure the child is looked after during this time.

What makes a person eligible to be a foster carer?

Foster families come in all shapes and sizes; families with children or without, people who are working, retired or stay-at-home parents. What matters is your ability to provide a safe and caring environment for a baby or children.

Can a foster carer adopt the child they are supporting?

Foster care is temporary care. At Sanctuary Care our goal is to reunite the child with their birth parents or relatives whenever possible. Where this is not possible and the child becomes available for adoption, foster carers may apply to adopt. For more information on adoption in Singapore please visit www.msf.gov.sg

Does Sanctuary Care offer support to families who are seeking to adopt?

Sanctuary Care can provide emotional support and advice to foster carers seeking to adopt. However, it does not facilitate the adoption process, which is managed by an independent adoption facilitator.

If I decide to apply to become a foster carer, how long will I have to wait before a child is placed with me?

The time of lodgement of application to home visit is usually two weeks. However, the time to provide final approval will vary, depending on whether international police checks are necessary. Do note that approval as a foster parent does not guarantee a placement as children’s needs are matched to what foster carers can provide.