In May of this year, Facebook user Katherina Mary Francis, shared that she was very frustrated because an officer from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) had taken away her baby.
She alleged that the MSF officer took the action because she determined that her husband was not earning enough to afford to buy formula milk for her son. Katherina however disputed that. She said that she had four tins of formula milk at the time her baby was taken away.
Katherina said that she refused to cooperate with the MSF officer and wondered why the Government agency took that action. She further said: “This is my child. Every morning and night I can’t get to hear him cry for milk and I can’t even get to see him lying and playing in his cot. Everyday I look at his cot wishing he was there. How would you feel if you wake up every single day and not being able to see and hear your child?”
The online publication All Singapore Stuff published her Facebook post on 5 June. MSF responded to the allegations of ‘child stealing’ on the same day in its Facebook and said that there are certain personal details involved in case which they are unable to discuss in public. This MSF said was to protect the privacy of those involved.
MSF further clarified that its Child Protective Service works closely with other agencies to protect children and young persons from abuse and neglect. “Our child protection colleagues look into cases where children have been harmed, or are at high risk of future harm,” it said.
It added: “At times, we have to intervene in order to safeguard the well-being and safety of the children involved. The ultimate goal is to help families so that they can assume safe care of their children with the community’s support.”
In October 1995, by acceding to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Singapore Government made a commitment to meet the minimum standards in the provision of health care, education, legal and social services for children. In many areas, provisions for Singapore children were already well above these minimum standards.
The principle, “in the best interests of the child” has since guided the Singapore Government’s policies and service provision for children and young persons, including the area of child protection.
4 basic principles affirmed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) are:
- Survival (that children have a right to life and the needs that are basic to existence)
- Development (that children should have opportunities to reach his or her fullest potential)
- Protection (that children should be safeguarded against all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation)
- Participation (that children have an active role in the community)