Adoption Bill to Prioritise Locals, Break Cycles of Abuse


Adoption Bill Aims to Prioritise Locals, Break Cycles of Abuse and Neglect

The Adoption of Children Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on April 4 by Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli, seeks to repeal the Adoption of Children Act 1939 and re-enact a new Adoption of Children Act 2022.

The new bill aims to better protect the welfare of children for adoption by proposing to find a good home for every child, break cycles of abuse and neglect, and deter undesirable behaviours in the adoption sector, as per a press release by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on the same day.

The key amendments include requiring all prospective adopters to attend both pre-adoption and disclosure briefings before an application can be made; requiring all prospective adopters to undergo a suitability assessment; giving priority to Singapore citizens and permanent residents for adoptions in the city-state; preventing persons convicted of serious offences, such as sexual, violence, and drug-related offences, from adopting; and ensuring all parties involved in the adoption process who require support will be given the necessary services, including counselling, mediation, and other relevant programmes.

To break cycles of abuse and neglect, and help facilitate the adoption of children in foster care or children's homes, the bill "makes clearer the proposed thresholds and circumstances and specifies more grounds under which the Court may dispense with a relevant person’s (e.g. a birth parent’s) consent to the adoption."

The bill also aims to introduce offences to protect the welfare of children for adoption, such as criminalising undesirable behaviours that compromise the child's welfare. These behaviours include advertising children for adoption and providing false or misleading information during the adoption process, among others.

Read the Adoption of Children Bill in full.

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