Muscat: As the public eagerly awaits the chance to foster the abandoned girl, unless a relative turns up, any prospective foster family will have to comply with criteria issued by Ministry of Social Development, which evaluates whether a foster parent is fit for taking care of the child.
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When news surfaced about the abandoned girl, many came forward with offers of help to foster the two-year-old. However, potential parents must match the criteria put forth by the Ministry of Social Development in order to ensure a safe life for the child.
According to Article 16 of the Regulations for Care and Fostering, the candidates must be an Omani, Muslim family with two parents (father and mother). In certain cases, it is permissible for a single woman to foster the child.
The parents or the woman must be between 25 and 55 years old and must have a clean criminal record. The fostering family must be able to care for the child, both socially and psychologically.
The family and parents must also go through a medical examination to prove that they do not carry any contagious diseases and are not suffering from any mental, psychological and behavioural issues. However, those who are financially capable of caring for the child, will get priority over others.
The Times of Oman spoke with Her Highness Sayyida Basma Al Said, founder of Whispers Serenity and expert psychotherapist to get her view on this matter.
When asked about what makes for a good parent, she responded, “We cannot ask what makes a good parent, but rather, what makes for a caring parent?”
“Parents must go through a psychological examination to determine how fit they are to take care of a child, this is very important. Examiners must also ask why they want to foster their child,” she said, adding that parents must provide a reason for their will to foster children.
Families can only foster two children and would need the minister’s approval if they wish to foster more. The Ministry of Social Development will regularly monitor the status of the fostering family every six months or whenever they feel necessary. Those who live abroad will also be monitored by the Sultanate’s embassy in the country the family lives in.
The abandoned child was found in Al Buraimi and is now being kept at the Al Wifaq Care Center in Al Seeb.
If relatives do not show up, the public will be given the opportunity to apply for permission to foster the child via contact with the Child Affairs Department at the Ministry of Social Development.