New Foster Scheme To Care For Children From Broken Home
Posted on August 8, 2012, Wednesday
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Children growing up without a normal family environment under the welfare of the Department of Community Development, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, will be given a fresh start in life with the introduction of the Temporary Foster Scheme, Borneo Bulletin reported.
Based on the current situation, the Department of Community Development has found it fit for the scheme to be introduced following the various problems faced by numerous families in the country that could jeopardise the welfare of the children.
The Temporary Foster Scheme, which was introduced this year, has actually existed in the Children and Young Person Protection Order 2006 which came into force in 2010. The scheme is aimed at giving the children a chance to grow and live with a temporary family in an environment filled with harmony, care and love.
In the briefing yesterday, Dayang Hajah Misnah binti Haji Bolhassan, the Director of Department of Community Development said, “Children under 18 years old who need protection and care will be placed in Temporary Foster Scheme in a family institution where the children will receive normal family love, guidance, attention and care. The scheme is voluntary therefore it is up to the public to apply.”
The scheme, she said, “is an alternative from the child protection and supervision in an institution. As we understand, the care of children in institutions is different which is very formal and lacks the family’s love and surroundings”.
“In many overseas countries,” she said “supervision in the institution is the last resort for children while priority goes to families. A family is the best place for the children, however, unfortunately not all children have a harmonious and caring family. A foster family is considered the best alternative in fulfilling the needs of children to grow up in good family environment whereby there is father, mother, brother and sister or others.”
One of the Department of Community Development’s functions, she said “is to provide shelter and recovery for children who need protection as stated in the Children and Young Person Protection Order 2006 which came into force in 2010. Under the order, children who need protection will be placed in a safe place like the welfare home in Kg Belimbing or a place deemed fit for the child to be taken care of like a closest family member or foster family”.
Brunei has not yet started the Temporary Foster Scheme and the children are currently under the care of the welfare home in Kg Belimbing.
“Children that are in the welfare home mostly came from broken families and victims of abuse. They are mostly innocent, therefore they need care and love of family-as well as guidance,” she said.
It is hoped the Temporary Foster Scheme “can help the children to grow by living in a family environment that comes with the much needed love, harmony and care which the children didn’t have”.
During an interview, Hajah Misnah said, “From a total of 38 children, there are currently around 10 children aged between seven months to 18 years old under the Department of Community Development who are suitable for the Temporary Foster Scheme.”
She added, “The Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam will provide an allowance to assist the foster family to cope with the added financial burden. In case any problem arises, there will be emotional support and advice provided by the department.”
If the biological parent of the child were to disturb the temporary foster family during the period of the scheme, the Director of the Department of Community Development said that the department would seek a restraining order from the court.
She added, “The child can return to the biological parent when he/she reaches the age of 18 and only if the biological parent is fit or in stable condition to take care of the child.”
Meanwhile, Dayang Hajah Sit Aynah binti Haji Md Yaakub, the Acting Assistant Director of the Department of Community Development, briefed on who can be adopted under the scheme.
Under chapter 2 (a)-(h) of Children and Young Persons Protection Order 2006, children that are eligible for the Temporary Foster Scheme are:
- Children who are abused and neglected by family;
- Children whose mothers can’t care for them as they themselves are in welfare home under the Department of Community Development because of personal or family problems;
- Children include those born out of incest;
- Children whose guardian rights have not yet been decided by the court following divorce cases;
- Children whose parents have separated because of different religion, example one of them embraced Islam;
- Children who have lost one or both parents;
- Orphaned children;
- Children from problem families who need guidance;
- And other children that are suitable to be part of the scheme.
The criteria for a family that likes to be part of the Temporary Foster Scheme are:
- Applicants have to be a married couple;
- The married couple has to be Brunei citizens and devoted Muslim adults;
- In good physical and mental health;
- Spouse that is a fulltime housewife or if working has a domestic helper;
- Do not have a child under three years old;
- Do not have any infectious diseases;
- Possess a stable income and are capable of supporting the child;
- And be caring, loving and compassionate.
To apply, the public needs to fill in registration forms or can write to the Director of the Department of Community Development. The applicants will be screened in an interview.
The process of the Temporary Foster Scheme will take around one month to complete and applicants will have to go through a stringent selection process conducted by the committee of the scheme.
Each applicant will receive an inspection from the Department of Community Development to make sure that the family is suitable to be involved in the scheme. Following the successful screening, the applications will be handed over to the court to obtain order for the couple to be supported for the Temporary Foster Scheme.
After obtaining the order, applicants will be informed formally and the successful applicant will be able to pick up the child from the department.
In ensuring the welfare of the children under the care of the foster family, social workers will be making frequent house calls to the family.
It is reminded that the child is under the temporary care of the foster family and the child will be sent back to the biological parents or anyone deemed fit by the order of the court for permanent care.
If the foster family would like to adopt the child permanently, they can submit an application for adoption following the existing procedure in the country.