No one’s more qualified than the mamas in our audience to support this month’s charity spotlight, Sanctuary Care! Find out how you can help keep families together by volunteering to be a foster family for babies and children in need.
Please welcome Gillian McConnell, a social worker from Sanctuary Care, to tell you more about this wonderful and worthy organisation, mamas!
Sanctuary Care is a fostering service run by Boys’ Town. Boys’ Town is a charity started in 1948 by the Brothers of St. Gabriel to help children and youth in need. It provides residential care, fostering, adventure therapy, youth outreach and other community and school-based programmes and services.
Sanctuary Care, under Boys’ Town, has taken over the function of the well-known and much loved Sanctuary House. We provide foster placements for children whose families need assistance during a crisis such as during incarceration, illness or as a result of a crisis pregnancy. We hope that by providing this service that families who experience difficulties at a particular time can remain together in the long term. Seeing families overcoming crisis and being reunited is always a joy. It’s also lovely to watch the babies and children enjoying new experiences and creating new bonds with their foster families.
Our placements tend to run from a few days up to one year. We take children from newborn up to about 7 years. As we are a small service we endeavour to remain flexible so that we can meet the needs of our clients. Our children most often come from low-income families who have low levels of social support. The parents often need to get a job and accommodation before sourcing infant care or childcare. We care for children whose parents are incarcerated or in hospital, and we also work with single mothers who want to keep their babies long term but need extra support during the first year or so.
One of the most important parts of our job is to facilitate and support access between the natural parents and their children. We aim to do this on a weekly basis.
Our foster families come from all over the world. We have foster families from all cultures and faiths, and this is a crucial element to our success. We meet with anyone who might be interested in fostering with us. If they express an interest in fostering we will undertake an assessment and then support the foster parents through their journey with us. Throughout the period of the placement we will remain in regular contact with our foster parents.
Training and assessment can depend on the individual family. In general, we will meet with the prospective foster family to talk in more detail about our service before they finally decide to sign up. Once we receive the application form we will run a police clearance and a MSF clearance. After this we will seek to meet the foster parents twice for about 2 hours each time and then will meet all other household members in order to undertake the assessment. Once the assessment is complete the form goes to our management who vet it and meet with us to discuss it in detail. After it’s passed we are ready to welcome you on board! In total the process usually takes about 4 -6 weeks depending on the foster families availability to meet with us.
Fostering with Sanctuary Care is a voluntary position. While we do provide diapers, formula and medical costs, there is not a monthly payment made. We can and do, however, provide all the basic care equipment needed to care for a baby such a cot, pram etc.
We are currently recruiting foster parents. If you can commit to staying in Singapore for a minimum of one year; can financially support a child throughout the placement (We will reimburse for the cost of diapers, formula and medical care costs); and are willing to open your heart and home to a baby or young child for a period of time we would love to talk to you. Please do not hesitate to contact us on [email protected] or call us on 6221 0588.