Foster parents need more support: Experts
There are 420 foster parents caring for 430 foster children here, but foster parents do not qualify for childcare leave.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) hopes to have 500 foster parents caring for about 600 children by 2020.
And after 61 years, the Fostering Scheme, which places vulnerable children in foster homes, might see some changes regarding childcare leave.
Clinical psychologist Carol Balhelchett, who specialises in family, children and youth, feels that foster parents should be given childcare leave as they have to invest a lot of time on their foster children.
She said: "Parents do not only have to take care of the child's physical needs, but also their emotional and psychological needs. (Foster parents) perform the same acts as parents do, and it is not fair that they are not entitled to childcare leave.
"We should not take advantage of the altruistic nature of foster parents but instead support them in their courageous act."
National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser said: "If foster parents are expected to be taking on the tasks of parenting, then they deserve childcare leave as much as those people parenting their own children."
Foster parents are given a monthly allowance of $936 to cover the child's expenses. For a child with special needs, it is $1,114.
Medical fees for foster children are also covered, and MSF funds each foster child for one enrichment course a year.
For more information, call 6354-8799, write to email@example.com or visit www.msf.gov.sg/Fostering or www.msf.gov.sg/Fostering/Pages/Support-for-foster-parents.aspx